The Village of Lake George is set to receive almost $10 million in state grants to repair and upgrade its wastewater collection infrastructure.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the $9.4 million investment into the village as the 25th proposal of his 2020 State of the State agenda on Sunday.
The $9.4 million will be provided by the state in addition to a $3 million Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant and a Department of Environmental Conservation-funded $2.5 million Water Quality Improvement Project grant, filling a budget gap in the project and bringing total state investment to $14.9 million.
The remaining cost of the project will be covered by a zero-interest loan from the Environmental Facilities Corporation. This investment will result in a total savings to village taxpayers of nearly $25 million.
“Lake George is a crown jewel of New York's many beautiful lakes and waterways. This critical water infrastructure project will both ensure the continued health of the lake's pristine waters and further economic growth throughout the region,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New York is leading the way in protecting water quality, which is why the state is investing a historic $3 billion dollars to help municipalities address these challenges head-on.”
The Village of Lake George will start construction of significant plant upgrades in August and expects to complete the repairs and upgrades in August 2021.
The upgraded wastewater treatment plant will enhance Lake George's water quality and continue the Village's efforts to reduce nutrient pollution that can trigger harmful algae growth in the lake's famously clear waters. The project will have an estimated cost of $24 million.
Lake George has, in the past, received financial help from larger agencies to deal with its aging sewage system. In July 2019, it was announced that the village would receive a $500,000 federal grant to help upgrade its aging sewage treatment plant.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., secured the funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission’s infrastructure investment program. At the time, Schumer said that 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.
The FUND for Lake George, a non-profit organization focused on the protection of the lake, lauded the investment, and said that the funding will ensure Lake George’s longevity as an important local landmark.
“Left unabated, pollution from the treatment plant and aging private septic systems poses serious threats to Lake George as a drinking water source for residents and visitors, and greatly increases the risk of harmful algal blooms like those that have wreaked havoc on the environment and economy of lakes across our state and beyond,” Eric Siy, executive director of The FUND for Lake George said in a statement. “Our environment and economy are two sides of the same coin, and Lake George is the common currency that will either accrue or decline in value depending on the actions we now take. Governor Cuomo’s leadership and New York State’s direct investment will help ensure we protect the legendary clarity and cleanliness of Lake George and the health of our regional economy for generations to come.”