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Town investigating report of feces in Schroon Lake; DEC says it’s algae

Word of Life Institute's sewage treatment plant near the shore of Schroon Lake, photographed by Town of Chester John Wolfe on June 21, the day he was called out to investigate a noxious pool of biomass emitting a noxious smell in Schroon Lake in the vicinity of the sewer plant. Wolfe contends he saw and smelled human feces in the water; state health and environmental officials say the brown chunks were "mats of algae," and that Word of Life's sewer treatment plant is working properly and in compliance with state regulations. Chester officials say they will investigate further.

Word of Life Institute's sewage treatment plant near the shore of Schroon Lake, photographed by Town of Chester John Wolfe on June 21, the day he was called out to investigate a noxious pool of biomass emitting a noxious smell in Schroon Lake in the vicinity of the sewer plant. Wolfe contends he saw and smelled human feces in the water; state health and environmental officials say the brown chunks were "mats of algae," and that Word of Life's sewer treatment plant is working properly and in compliance with state regulations. Chester officials say they will investigate further. John Wolfe

— Wolfe’s report prompted the State Department of Health to close down Word of Life’s beach as a precaution while they ran the tests, agency spokesman Peter Constantakes said.

“Near the discharge pipe, we found plants that had biodegraded, emitting a bad odor — but we didn’t find any feces,“ he said. Constantakes added that the two state agencies found no indication it was a sewage spill.

“There was no evidence of a sewage discharge,” he said. “But I can’t tell you exactly what it was.”

World of Life Operations Vice President John Nelson said his organization had experienced no problem recently with their sewage treatment operations.

“This is a story that isn’t a story,” he said, adding that he didn’t know what was in the lake that day.

“I’m not an expert on those things, he continued. Nelson declined comment on whether the system was inspected on a regular basis, and he refused to answer further questions.

Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe said he would be discussing the situation with the town attorney and the town board, as the photos Wolfe took June 21 and submitted to him showed substance the size, shape and color of human feces floating in the waters of Schroon Lake.

“The state Health Department and DEC are normally very aggressive on issues like this,” Monroe said. “It’s confusing to me why they are not investigating this further.”

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