LAKE GEORGE — The village of Lake George will receive a $500,000 federal grant to help upgrade its aging sewage treatment plant, which is releasing excessive levels of nitrates into the lake.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission’s infrastructure investment program on Thursday. He said he’d been pressing for assistance for the village since it became clear that the treatment plant was failing and sending more contaminants into the lake than previously thought.
Eric Siy, executive director of The FUND for Lake George, said upgrades to the sewage plant will greatly reduce the risk of algal blooms that have afflicted other lakes, as nitrates essentially act as fertilizer for algae.
The effluent enters the water between the Lake George Steamboat Company dock and the Million Dollar Beach. Because of this, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has placed the village under order to replace the plant at an estimated cost of $24 million, Schumer noted. The village is in the position of relying on lake-related tourism for its economy yet having only 900 year-round residents to pay for infrastructure upgrades, he added.
Schumer called the lake “one of the most breathtaking natural treasures in all of New York state and a fundamental driver of the Adirondack tourism economy” and said he’d continue fighting for additional funding.
“We sincerely appreciate Senator Schumer’s support in not only assisting our community in making our new Waste Water Treatment Plant affordable, but insuring that Lake George will remain ‘The Queen of American Lakes’ for several generations,” Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said in a news release.