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Adirondack Council Applauds Water Quality Grants

For more information:
John F. Sheehan
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518-441-1340 (cell)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 22, 2017

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council today applauded the State for awarding more than $9.2 million in new grants to Adirondack local governments and organizations that will improve water quality by curbing pollution and limiting road salt contamination in the Adirondack Park’s iconic lakes and rivers, including Lake George, Lake Champlain and the Fulton Chain Lakes.

Another $1.03 million was awarded for projects that will advance cultural and scientific development in the park’s communities.  Some of these will create a new arts center at the Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake) and a new astro-sciences center at the Adirondack Public Observatory in Tupper Lake.

The awards were made through the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC).  Parts of the Adirondack Park are located in the Capital Region, Mohawk Valley and North Country REDCs. This $10.23 million is in addition to the $32 million in grants previously announced for clean water waste water infrastructure in Adirondack towns.

The six-million-acre Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States.  Almost half of the park is constitutionally protected Forest Preserve, which must remain “forever wild.” The park is also home to 130 small communities inside of 12 counties, 92 towns and nine villages.

“These additional grants from the Governor and the State of New York will help protect the Adirondack Park’s purest waters and public health,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “The park’s 130,000 year-round residents can’t afford to provide state-of-the-art facilities to host more than 12 million annual visitors all by themselves.  These grants complement previously announced infrastructure grants and will ease some of the burden by providing construction grants and engineering assistance that Adirondack taxpayers couldn’t afford otherwise.

“Adirondack Park is a world-class international destination and tourism is an important and growing part of the state’s economy,” Janeway noted.  “These grants will curb some of the impacts of expanding tourism on the park’s environment, making the park more resilient in the face of changing conditions and a rapidly warming climate. 

Grants were awarded to control erosion and to limit salt contamination and sedimentation, and to clean up pollution.  Special attention was paid to sites near major water bodied with existing challenges, especially in the Lake George/Lake Champlain watershed and the Fulton Chain Lakes. 

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization.  It doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer funded donations of any kind.  The Adirondack Council is an advocate for state and federal programs that protect enhance the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park, and projects that foster more vibrant, sustainable communities.

REDC grants were awarded in several broad categories, including:

Water Quality Improvement Project Program – A competitive, statewide grant program open to local governments and not-for-profit corporations for projects that address water quality impairments or protect a drinking water source. Eligible projects include municipal wastewater treatment; nonpoint source pollution abatement and control from non-farm sources; land acquisition projects for source water protection; salt storage; aquatic habitat restoration; and municipal storm sewer systems.

DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant Program - $3 million is available statewide for this year’s Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant program for communities that cannot afford to hire their own engineers to design wastewater and sewage system improvements.

Green Innovation Grant Program – Up to $15 million is available statewide for competitive grants to projects that improve water quality and demonstrate green storm-water infrastructure in New York. The Green Innovation grants are administered by the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and are funded with a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Grants issued to Adirondack communities and organizations included programs operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Dept. of State (DOC) and the Office of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR).

Capital Region Grants:

Adirondack counties in the Capital Region REDC include Saratoga, Warren and Washington.  A portion of each county is located inside the Adirondack Park.

Village of Corinth Force Main and Sewer Improvements - $1 million Housing and Community Renewal (HCR) grant to replace the existing force main and sewer improvements to support the new River Street Pump Station and treatment plant.

Town of Lake George, three grants to improve water quality - totaling $435,000 including: $100,000 from the DOS for engineering work in the Caldwell Sewer District; $125,000 from the DEC for streambank stabilization and roadside erosion-control projects; and, $120,000 from the DEC for re-lining several thousand feet of sewer near Million Dollar Beach, which experienced closures in 2016 and 2017 due to fecal coliform bacteria.

Town of Lake George, erosion/runoff control - $40,000 to the Lake George Land Conservancy to reroute the Pilot Knob Trail away from its steepest slopes to control erosion and improve safety.

Village of Lake George, two grants to improve water quality – totaling $2.7 million including: $200,000 from the DEC for alternative road de-icing projects aimed at reducing the amount of road salt used in the lake basin; and $2.5 million from the DEC to upgrade the village wastewater treatment plant.

Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District runoff control near Lake George - $114,398 from the DEC to redesign five storm-water catchments for better filtration of road salt and sediment/silt in the towns of Lake George and Queensbury.

Mohawk Valley Region Grants:

In the Mohawk Valley REDC, portions of Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida counties are inside the park.

Village of Mayfield, engineering grant - $30,000 from the DEC to evaluate the wastewater treatment plant and recommend improvements to better protect the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Town of Remsen, salt shed - $142,188 to build a new salt shed next to the highway garage, to prevent contamination of drinking water wells nearby.

Town of Webb, engineering grant - $24,900 from the DEC to evaluate the wastewater treatment plant and recommend improvements to the disinfection system to better protect the Fulton Chain Lakes and Moose River.

North Country REDC Grants:

In the North Country REDC, all of Essex and Hamilton counties are inside the park, as are parts of Clinton, Franklin, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Essex County, storm water/erosion control - $296,650 from the DEC to purchase a vacuum truck to remove sediment from catch basins within 18 towns whose rivers and streams drain into Lake Champlain.

Essex County, salt storage - $744,134 from the DEC to build a road salt storage facility at the Dept. of Public Works garage in Elizabethtown; the current uncovered pile is located near Barber’s Pond and is a few hundred feet from the highway dept. drinking water wells and residential properties.

Essex County Soil & Water Conservation District, storm water runoff control - $59,000 from the DEC to construct “green infrastructure” such as rain gardens to prevent storm runoff containing silt, road salt and other pollution from reaching Lake Champlain unfiltered.

Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation District, erosion control - $316,598 from the DEC to implement the second phase of a roadside erosion control program in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties to better protect Lake Champlain and its tributaries.

Hamilton County, recycling study - $12,500 from the DOS to Inlet, Hope and Long Lake to design a recycling system to take advantage of the 15-fold increase in population during summer months, when the county’s population swells form 5,000 to 75,000.

St. Lawrence County, brownfield remediation - $340,000 to the county industrial development agency to remove asbestos and chemical contamination as well as 17 structures from the former Jones & Laughlin Steel plant in Star Lake.

Town of Keene, salt shed - $695,856 from the DEC to build a salt storage facility to replace the currently uncovered salt pile adjacent to the highway dept. wells, which are contaminated with sodium and chlorides.

Town of Lewis, drinking water - $750,000 from the HCR for a new water main and associated work.

Town of Newcomb, salt shed - $359,643 from the DEC to build a new salt shed outside of the hamlet, away from lakes and residents’ drinking water.

Town of Peru, engineering grant - $30,000 from the DEC to evaluate the current wastewater treatment system and recommend improvements to better protect Lake Champlain.

Town of Saranac, water district upgrades - $907,348 from the HCR for improvements in the Standish water district.

Village of Saranac Lake, engineering study - $100,000 from the DEC to assess the condition of the treatment plant and system and reduce overflows.

Village of Tupper Lake, engineering study - $100,000 from the DEC to assess the condition of the treatment plant and system and reduce overflows.

Town of Willsboro, engineering - $30,000 from the DEC to investigate a solution to failing septic systems in the Buena Vista neighborhood, to protect Lake Champlain.

Cultural and Scientific Advancement

Franklin County, Adirondack Public Observatory - $200,000 from ESDC to design a LEED certified astro-sciences building as phase three of the space observatory’s campus in Tupper Lake.

Hamilton County, tourism development - $219,375 from the DOS to implement a community-based trails and lodging system and marketing plan to improve environmentally friendly connections between Adirondack communities and the Forest Preserve around them.

Hamilton County, Adirondack Experience renovations - $600,000 from the Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC), to install interactive technology in the Adirondack Art & Design Center at the former Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park.  The Council envisions a Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant, local communities. 

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action.  Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States. www.adirondackcouncil.org

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