Proposed law would put new septic responsibility on lakeside, riverside homeowners

WARREN COUNTY, NY (NEWS10) – If you live near Lake George on the Hudson River and want to sell your home, there may be some new steps to be taken based on a bill the county is considering. A new survey is looking for input.

The proposed “Septic Inspection on Transfer” law would require that every home within 75 meters of a designated lake or river be inspected upon the transfer of ownership to a new owner’s sewage treatment plant. Only fully developed properties would be affected.

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Water bodies on Warren County’s list include:

  • Lake George
  • Schroon lake
  • River Schroon
  • Brant lake
  • Loon Lake
  • Lake Lucerne
  • Friends lake
  • The Hudson River

The survey, available on Warren County’s website, prompts local residents to weigh whether they think outdated or aging wastewater treatment plants may pose a threat to water quality and whether they think they are responsible for the management of the water in their environment. These questions reflect the intent of the law, which aims to protect bodies of water from pollution and to counteract cases where inadequate design or maintenance of septic tanks can lead to pollution.

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“Protecting our waterways is an extremely important issue for all Warren Counties and visitors, and this proposed Septic Tank Inspection Act will make great strides in improving the supervision of potentially problematic septic tanks,” said Rachel Seeber, chairwoman of Warren County. “But we also want to ensure that all stakeholders concerned have the opportunity to comment on this proposal and that all citizens who want to be heard about this legislative proposal are given the opportunity.”

Two public hearings will be held on the proposed law; one at 7 p.m. on November 17 at Lake George Town Hall and the other at 10 a.m. on November 19 at the Warren County Municipal Center.

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For real examples of the effects aging septic systems can have, look no further than Lake George. The lake saw its first noxious algal bloom last year and another, smaller one this fall. Blooms are caused by an influx of nutrients into bodies of water, and Lake Stewardship groups have vocalized the impact aging and leaky septic systems can have on this process.

In parallel with this problem, Million Dollar Beach at the foot of the lake in the village of Lake George has seen numerous closings over the years attributed to unsafe values ​​of e. coli. The last closure took place last summer. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said at the time that heavy rainfall was blamed for the high levels.

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Warren County is no stranger to demanding septic upgrades. In June, they pushed a program that offers government grants to pay up to $ 10,000 in the cost of upgrading or replacing aging sewage plants.

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