Lake George Association asks municipalities to consider new septic system law

Now that Queensbury has passed a local law requiring a septic system inspection upon a property transfer, will other municipalities follow suit?

The Lake George Association is hoping so.

The nonprofit organization sent letters to local leaders in Hague, Fort Ann, Ticonderoga, Bolton, Dresden, Putnam and the town and village of Lake George, asking them to consider passing something similar.

“This law is important for all towns in the watershed to consider because a majority of homes use the Lake (Lake George) or wells on their property as a source of drinking water,” the letter from Executive Director Walt Lender read. “And while untreated stormwater is by far the greatest human contributor to water quality decline in Lake George, nonfunctional septic systems can present health and water quality problems. With this law on the books throughout the watershed, those health and water quality problems would diminish — and the potential for Harmful Algal Blooms would be lessened as well.”

Some Lake George groups, including the Assembly Point Water Quality Coalition, have been collecting algae samples from the bottom of Lake George and getting them tested with the suspicion that the algae is growing because of leaking septics.

Hague town Supervisor Edna Frasier said the letter was briefly mentioned at a Town Board meeting and that it is something it will look into.

“I think we need to discuss it on our (sewer advisory) committee and our board before we make any decision, but we’re always concerned about keeping the lake in good shape,” she added.

Fort Ann Supervisor Richard Moore brought the letter up at a town board meeting on Nov. 13. Besides Lake George, the municipality’s borders include Hadlock Pond and Lake Nebo, to name a few.

“It appears to me, if we’re going to do something like this, it’s going to be for all lakes, all water bodies,” Moore said.

Town attorney Jeffrey Meyer said there is a zoning district for Pilot Knob, but he would research all the options for the town and get back to board members.

John LaPointe, supervisor of Putnam, said the town board is in discussion on it now, but no decision had been made. He said he didn’t have any additional thoughts on the Lake George Association’s suggestion.

The Post-Star reached out to other town supervisors for comment Wednesday but did not hear back as of Sunday afternoon.

After a Lake George Park Commission meeting on Nov. 20, Lender said the village of Lake George already has municipal sewer, so there would be no more septic systems to regulate under a local law. He also had heard back from the town of Bolton that it was interested in passing something similar to Queensbury.

The Lake George Association, Lender added, could help train code enforcement staff to inspect septic systems.

“The LGA understands the potential for financial concerns with an enacted ‘Septic Inspection Upon Property Transfer’ law, and that repairing septics can be very expensive if they are not working properly,” the letter to towns and villages read. “But septic systems need to be working properly in order to protect the drinking water that is Lake George.”