A long-term problem for Lake George is getting a solution, thanks to partnership between the LGA and the Town of Lake George and a $13,000 grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.
When installed, the solution being supported by the grant will prevent more than half a million gallons of polluted stormwater from getting into the Lake each year, protecting the Lake’s water quality.
As part of the Lake George Association’s commitment to protect the Lake’s water quality, the LGA has been working with the Town of Lake George, Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District and Chazen Companies to track down and determine the source of polluted stormwater in the nearly 10 acre watershed portion that includes Michelli Road.
A number of studies performed by the Soil and Water Conservation District and the LGA concluded that the source was not intermittent streams or other natural sources, rather the stormwater flowing down Michelli Road was coming from the neighborhood itself. Once the source was determined, we focused on ways to reduce or eliminate the stormwater flow.
One objective of the LGA’s water quality protection projects is to reduce the volume of nutrients that reach the Lake via polluted stormwater. This grant will help us do just that.
“We knew we needed to reduce the amount of polluted stormwater that was reaching the Lake, and reduce the erosion of the stormwater channels,” said Randy Rath, Project Manager for the Lake George Association. “We applied for a local implementation grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to purchase and install three dry wells to capture the stormwater and infiltrate it – which is the best way to deal with it at this location.”
The benefit to the Lake is that the three structures, at roughly 200 cubic feet each, will handle approximately 669,000 gallons of polluted stormwater each year, or enough to fill twenty-seven 20-by-40 above-ground swimming pools.
Put another way, that volume would fully fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool (which has ten lanes for swimmers).
According to an EPA scientific model, the project will also remove about 9 pounds of nitrogen and more than a pound and a half of phosphorus per year, as well as 800 pounds of sediment per year.
“This is the kind of critical work that the LGA does to protect the Lake’s water quality,” said Walt Lender, Executive Director of the Lake George Association. “The polluted stormwater carries nutrients, sediment, chemicals, bacteria and many other substances detrimental to the Lake.”
“The LGA, municipalities and other organizations have installed these protection devices – the dry wells – in strategic areas throughout the watershed to reduce and treat stormwater. These projects have been very successful in keeping the nutrients out of the Lake’s water.”
Reducing nutrients is the primary way we can prevent Harmful Algal Blooms from happening on Lake George. “The current scientific understanding is that most HABS form with the right combination of warm, calm water; the presence of cyanobacteria; and an abundance of nutrients. We can’t control the sunlight, or the water temperature, and we know that cyanobacteria exist in the Lake. So the one element we can control is nutrients getting into the Lake,” Lender said.
The state’s Harmful Algal Bloom Action Plan calls for improving stormwater conveyance systems that capture stormwater and redirect it into the ground, where it can be naturally cleaned.
This particular project also illuminates the need for more outreach by the Park Commission, the Lake George Association and others on the dangers of polluted stormwater for the Lake. “The more homeowners around the watershed that can stop the stormwater from leaving their yards, the better the Lake’s water quality will be,” said Rath.
The Michelli Road neighborhood that the stormwater is generated on is approximately 9.8-acres of land, including developed and undeveloped properties.
The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose members support water quality protection, water quality monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.
All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.