LAKE GEORGE - Officials of the village and town have long wondered how their sewer system is occasionally overburdened and town officials now think they have an answer: the state is to blame, as they own six large drainage pipes that are believed to be illegally dumping groundwater under Battlefield Park into a main line of the town septic system. In light of this discovery, the town has suspended enforcement of the ban on residents pumping small amounts of stormwater via sump pumps into the sewer mains.
Town Supervisor Frank McCoy said municipal engineer Tom Jarrett of Glens Falls is now reviewing video tapes made by a robotic camera that has been employed recently to crawl through pipes and find either leaks or infiltration.
Engineer Tom Jarrett, McCoy said Tuesday, has determined that the state's Battleground Park is to blame for much of the storm water infiltration that has flowed into the village's municipal wastewater treatment plant.
The tapes showed six eight-inch lateral lines coming off of the large grassy area of Battleground Park spaced out every 110 feet, hooked up to the Town of lake George's Caldwell Sewer District transmission line. The tapes showed a considerable about of water flowing into the sewer main, he said, which is supposed to carry only septic sewage, not stormwater, to the Village's treatment plant.
It is illegal for storm water to be deposited into the sewer mains or to be pumped to the treatment plant, and both the Village of Lake George and the Town of Lake George have regulations against it, McCoy said. This law is enforced with a fine of $250 per day.
McCoy, Town Board member Fran Heinrich, Town Highway Superintendent Hollis Ovitt and Building & Grounds foreman Rick Morehouse met with DEC officials Tuesday to inform them of the problem. The officials said they would review the situation and issue a reply.
In March, the Town had imposed a six-month moratorium on all new sewer hookups in March.
Tuesday, McCoy said town officials see no reason at this point to extend the moratorium. These pipes appear to have been put in when a swamp was filled in to create Battlefield Park.
McCoy said that once the State unhooks their pipes much of the infiltration should cease.
"Our pipes were in great shape, McCoy said. "We cut out a few roots but found no major breaks and not as many sump pumps as we had expected - We will begin to deal with them immediately."
McCoy said he has enlisted the help of Dave Wick of Warren County Soil and Water District and Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky to assist homeowners in finding alternative ways to dispose of water in their basements.
Under a proposed new sewer contract with the Village, residents of the Caldwell Sewer District will be charged through their property taxes for the aggregate gallonage theypump into the treatment plant.
McCoy added it is in the best interest of all to pump as few gallons as possible to both keep town residents' taxess down, and to assure appropriate capacity for sewage treatment.