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Around Saratoga

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Ballston Lake can't handle any more phosphorus

Phosphorus levels in Ballston Lake will likely degrade the water quality unlesss significant steps are taken soon, according to a report delivered at the Ballston Town Board meeting on Thursday.

A significant uptick in phosphorus was noted in 2010 and the trend has continued, as Ballston Lake Improvement Association board member David Pierce said Thursday the lake is now “super saturated,” meaning it has more phosphorus than it can handle. Elevated levels of phosphorus can lead to excess amounts of algae, which can harm the natural life in a body of water. In concentration, high levels of phosphorus can be toxic to humans.

The suspected culprits of the high levels are runoff and septic systems. Pierce said the streams that flow into the lake have high levels of phosphorus, which are above levels accepted by the EPA in some cases.

As a result of the phosphorus levels, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has imposed development restrictions on the area. In order to reduce the amount of phosphorus, development must follow a total maximum daily load plan.

One solution, which would require a major investment is a sewer system for the town. Town Board member William Goslin said the town’s sewer committee is currently looking at putting in a sewer system and phasing in the costs.

He warned that the town should try to be proactive about the problem before a state or federal regulatory body comes in and requires action.

“This is going to be one of the major issues our town is going to have deal with in the immediate future,” Goslin said.

A full story on this issue will be in the Daily Gazette print edition and eventually available at

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