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Village accepts DEC consent order; commits to sewer plant upgrades

Standing at controls to a primary processing station  recently at the Lake George sewer treatment plant, village wastewater supervisor Tim Shudt explains upgrades that are proposed to boost the purity of the plant’s outflows.

Standing at controls to a primary processing station recently at the Lake George sewer treatment plant, village wastewater supervisor Tim Shudt explains upgrades that are proposed to boost the purity of the plant’s outflows. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The village sewer treatment plant’s ongoing discharge of effluent containing levels of nitrates that exceed state limits has finally prompted formal legal enforcement action by the state.

Lake George Village recently received a consent order issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation over the non-compliant effluent, and the village board voted Monday July 14 to agree to the order and its negotiated remedies.

The state’s order noted that monitoring wells surrounding the plant, located on Birch Avenue, detected nitrate levels exceeding maximum permitted levels for 29 of 30 months in the series of biweekly tests over the past few years.

The consent order requires the village to correct the excess nitrate discharge and fines the municipality $3,900. It also requires the village to submit an engineering report that defines the facility’s shortfalls and evaluates potential solutions for bringing the facility into compliance.

The village leaders have been aware of the effluent violations occurring for about five years, and they have already been working towards boosting the plant’s treatment efficiency to clean up its discharge. These ongoing improvements include not only the planned installation of new sewer treatment devices, but also a new septic waste receiving system, rehabilitation of the sand beds that filter the effluent, and replacement of valves, piping and pumping stations. The village has also upgraded the sewer lines in the village in an effort to prevent infiltration and leakage.

Mayor Robert Blais told the public attending the monthly village board meeting Monday that he and the village trustees were expecting the consent order, and the village had been working with DEC for months to rectify the effluent violations.

“We’ve already begun to correct the problems and meet the DEC’s requirements,” Blais said, noting that the fine of $37,500 had been reduced, through negotiations with DEC, to a sum of $3,900.

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