Press Releases

 Adirondack Council Praises Proposed Septic Law; Urges Action

Warren County Law Would Protect Lake George, Schroon, Brant, Loon Lk, Hudson River 

Monday, March 1, 2021 

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council today praised the recently proposed Warren County Septic System Inspection Law being considered by the County Board of Supervisors, which would protect water quality in Lake George, Schroon Lake, Loon Lake, Brant Lake, and the Schroon and Hudson Rivers.

The proposed law would require homes with septic systems situated within 250 feet of these waters to have their on-site wastewater disposal (septic) systems inspected whenever they are sold to new owners. It is modeled on existing laws in the Towns of Queensbury and Inlet. 

“Lake George has over 6,000 septic systems in the watershed with a majority of those within Warren County,” said William C. Janeway, Adirondack Council Executive Director. “With the recent event of harmful algae blooms and other water quality concerns in the Park, it is critical we add septic system inspections to the toolbox of mitigation efforts to protect Adirondack waters we drink, need for recreation and depend on for our economy.” 

Time-of-sale inspection requirements are the least disruptive to the homeowner, David Miller, the Adirondack Council’s Clean Water Program Coordinator explained. Septic inspection becomes part of the regular series of home inspections needed before a sale is completed, such as structural, plumbing, pests, radon, etc., he said. If work is needed, it can be financed as part of the sale.   

The Lake George community has taken important educational and mitigation steps to combat the problems associated with aging and failing septic systems along the shores of Lake George, Miller said. 

While the proposed septic system inspection law is an important addition to this strategy, other Lake George counties and communities need to follow with similar efforts as well as expanding inspections to all homeowners and businesses, he said.  

The future of Lake George’s water quality depends on efforts to combat all sources of pollution: from sewage treatment plant upgrades, new and improved stormwater regulations, road salt abatement and mitigating all septic systems that are failing in the watershed, he said.  

The county is slated to consider the new law at its March 19 monthly meeting. 

“In time, we need to establish a program to inspect all septic systems in the Lake George watershed, whether they are being transferred in ownership or continuing to be used by the current owners,” Miller said. “Only then can we pinpoint all the problem areas, establish mitigation efforts and attract funding to assist in the elimination of these sources of pollution to the Lake. But this is a strong step in the right direction.” 

Asked whether he was worried that the proposed law allowed individual towns to opt out, Miller said was hopeful that local officials would appreciate being given a choice, but in the end he was hopeful most or all would choose to cooperate.  

“Towns in the Warren County have been working together for many years to protect these precious gems that bring so many visitors and seasonal residents here,” he said. “These communities have the most to lose if these measures don’t work.”   

The Adirondack Council will be publishing a White Paper on Septic System pollution and concerns throughout the Adirondack Park later in the spring of 2021 with proposed programmatic steps and mitigation strategies. 

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 with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities.  

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy, and legal action.  Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States. It is the largest environmental organization focused solely on the Adirondack Park.  

For more information: John Sheehan, Director of Communications, 518-441-1340 

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