Nozzolio Calls For Dec To Continue Phosphorous Restrictions On Owasco Lake

 

Albany – New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio today called for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to wholeheartedly reject weakening the current restrictions on the amount of phosphorous the Village of Groton can discharge into Owasco Lake. Senator Nozzolio stated his firm opposition to the proposal in a letter to DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis.

“Allowing increased amounts of phosphorous into Owasco Lake would absolutely halt the progress that has been made this year to clean up the lake,” said Senator Nozzolio. “After conferring with scientists at the Finger Lakes Institute, I believe that this would be a major step backward for our clean-up efforts and I am firmly opposed.”

Senator Nozzolio has been alerted that the DEC could allow the Village of Groton to increase the amount of treated sewage that is discharged into Owasco Lake, severely weakening the restrictions that were put in place last summer.

“On behalf of all those who care about the future of Owasco Lake, I am calling for the Department of Environmental Conservation to completely reject weakening the current restrictions on the amount of phosphorous that can be discharged into the lake,” continued Nozzolio.

Last summer, Senator Nozzolio worked with officials at the DEC to secure a signed consent order from the Village of Groton to reduce phosphorous discharge into Owasco Lake. As a result of meetings held by the Senator, the Village of Groton also agreed to implement additional chemical treatments to water being discharged into Owasco Lake and made plans for an upgrade of their sewage treatment plant.

“Owasco Lake is the most fragile and threatened of the Finger Lakes and action must be taken to ensure that the progress that has been made is not reversed,” continued Senator Nozzolio.

As part of his efforts to preserve Owasco Lake, Senator Nozzolio successfully secured state funding to address the critical issues threatening the Lake, including enhancing Cayuga County’s weed harvesting efforts. Nozzolio has also worked to create the position of a lake steward that will work to ensure compliance by local municipalities to protect the water quality of Owasco Lake.

Attached is Senator Nozzolio’s letter to DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis.


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June 1, 2007

Pete Grannis, Commissioner
Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12207

Re: Groton Wastewater Treatment Plant

Dear Commissioner Grannis:

As the New York State Senator representing the 54th District, I have been working with representatives of Cayuga County, including the Cayuga County Health Department, in improving the water quality of Owasco Lake.

According to County officials, they have received notification from the Department of Environmental Conservation that the Village of Groton will be able to increase the amount of treated sewage that is discharged into Owasco Lake, from 0.35 million gallons per day to 0.5 million gallons per day.

In addition, the DEC has notified county officials that it will set the phosphorous load limit for an upgraded sewage treatment plant in the Village of Groton at four pounds per day. With the new sewage treatment plant, we would like the phosphorous load limit at no more than two pounds per day.

The DEC authorizing a weakening of the current restrictions would be a large step in the wrong direction as we continue efforts to clean-up Owasco Lake, the most fragile and threatened of the Finger Lakes.

Cayuga County Board of Health officials strongly object to a new phosphorous limit set by the DEC and has requested my assistance in seeking a reduction in the level of discharge into Owasco Lake.

Dr. John Halfman of the Finger Lakes Institute and Eileen O'Connor, Environmental Health Director for Cayuga County, have also advised me of their strident opposition to any decision by the DEC that would allow an increase in the phosphorous limit.

It is imperative that the DEC carefully evaluate current data and research that support the reduction of the discharge level. Dr. Halfman and representatives of the County Health Department will provide whatever additional documentation is needed to substantiate their request.

Your immediate attention to this critical issue is needed and will be deeply appreciated.
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With best wishes.

Senator Michael Nozzolio