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Mayor wants village to consider sewage backup notification system

SARANAC LAKE - Following a September sewer blockage that caused some 1,000 gallons of raw sewage to spill into Lake Flower, Saranac Lake Mayor Tom Michael wants to investigate an alarm system that could notify Department of Public Works staff of backups in the system.

Dave Winchell is state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 spokesman. He said the village DPW submitted a report of noncompliance regarding a sanitary sewer overflow to DEC on Sept. 21.

According to that report, a "plug of unknown type and origin" formed in the Riverside Drive sewer trunkline near the parking lot for the village offices.

"Sewage backed up in the line until it overflowed from a manhole on the Harbor Beach property along Lake Flower," Winchell said.

That overflow was reported to the DPW around 9:15 a.m. Sept. 19. Village crews spread lime on the lands and the beach where sewage had overflowed, the purpose being to kill any pathogens that may have been deposited there.

A subsequent report was submitted to both DEC and the state Department of Health. It was then determined that about 1,000 gallons of sewage had overflowed.

Then, in October, DEC sent a notice of violation of a sanitary sewage overflow. The notice informed the village that it complied with all necessary reporting requirements.

But Winchell noted the village, still, did "unlawfully discharge pollutants into the waters of the state."

"DEC requires that the village undertake a televised inspection of the line, and provide a report of the findings, recommendations for addressing any problems found and a schedule to complete those recommendations," Winchell said.

The deadline to complete those requirements is Nov. 20, and Winchell said the village did indicate it intends to clean the line and inspect it with a sewer camera. He also noted that DEC will determine any enforcement actions after a review of the village's report.

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