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Citizens call for greater oversight of sewer system

LAKE GEORGE - The recent sewage spill into Lake George was a result not only of misdirected municipal priorities, but a lack of oversight by the local board of health, citizens told the Lake George Town Board Tuesday Aug 4.

The board heard from from community activist John Salvadore, a resident of the lake's east side, that the local board of health should be held responsible for the sewer breach.

A sewer pipe burst July 5, allowing 8,000 to 10,000 gallons of raw sewage to flow into Lake George, contaminating Shepard Park beach - which remained closed Monday due to continuing bacterial contamination.

Salvadore said the village and town's Consolidated Board of Health should take routine action to assure safe and dependable sewage disposal to avoid such problems, rather than dealing with the consequences of a system failure.

"We've got to come to grips with the tendency of turning a blind eye to problems that could cause noxious wastewater to flow into the lake or the groundwater," Salvadore said.

Peter Bauer of the Fund for Lake George, a leading local environmental group, said an independent engineering evaluation of the village's sewer system should be conducted to identify deficiencies, so that such a failure can be avoided in the future.

As of Monday, purity tests of lakewater in the vicinity of Shepard Park Beach had not yielded three successive results indicating bacteria levels were below state maximums.

Bauer said that although the village had about 300 tons of sand removed and replaced in the vicinity of the beach, it was not alarming that bacteria levels remained unhealthy.

The surrounding beach sand and groundwater are likely to be harboring remnants of the sewage effluent, and the currents at the beach also are hampering the dilution and natural breakdown of the sewage, he said.

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