TICONDEROGA - Two hundred and fifty septic systems in the towns of Ticonderoga and Putnam, some in very close proximity to Lake George, are slowly being taken out of service as Lake George's newest municipal sewer district becomes active.
Residents along Black Point Road were informed in late November that they can begin to hook up to the newly-constructed municipal system.
"We can hardly believe it has finally happened," said Tom Morhouse, president of the Black Point Road Civic Association. "The BPRCA has been spearheading this project for the better part of 20 years now, and we're very excited about the end result. There were many setbacks, but it has finally come together."
"This is great news for Lake George," according to Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender, who lives in the new sewer district. "The most reasonable and effective solution to the aging and failing septic systems around Lake George is to collect the effluent and treat it in a municipal system. Many of the current systems were built for old seasonal camps and have long outlived their ability. Without ordinances in place that ensure regular inspections and upgrades, there is no way of knowing when these older systems stop working properly and start leaking into the lake. Many residents had resorted to holding tanks, but that's an impractical and costly alternative. This system was a costly investment, but we need to do all we can to protect Lake George as our major drinking water source. The LGA has supported this project since its inception."
This system protects over five miles of lakeshore from the pollution, harmful nutrients and bacteria that leach out of failing septic systems, promote algae and aquatic plant growth, and degrade water quality, according to LGA Director of Education Emily DeBolt.
"We gave Ti supervisor Bob Dedrick an award at his final town board meeting for all his help making the project happen. We wanted to honor him before he retired," said Barbara McLaughlin, BPRCA secretary.
Former Ti trustee Joe Michalak was also honored.
"A lot of collaboration, a great deal of effort and years of persistence has made this possible," said state Sen. Betty Little. "I am pleased to have been helpful with some state funding through the shared services program, but I really want to commend Tom Morhouse and the local elected officials, including Bob Dedrick, for their work."
"We have also relied upon the help of the Ticonderoga Sewer Department staff, Tracy Smith and Sue Huestis, and on the guidance of Jason Denno at New York State's Environmental Facilities Corporation, which provided financing assistance," continued Morhouse.
He also praised Putnam Supervisor John LaPointe.
"It was great to see everyone working together, from state agency staff, to town supervisors Dedrick and LaPointe, to local residents. This successful project is a shining example of a grassroots effort among Black Point Road residents to band together as an association, get organized, and gain the attention of their governments with an environmental goal to protect a precious resource. It sets an example for Lake George and other communities across the nation," concluded Lender.
The project cost upwards of $6 million and will cost residents roughly $1,000 annually. A.P. Reale Construction installed the system over an 18-month period, and the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee provided the engineering design and oversight.