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Last Year, It Was Revealed That The Village Of Lake George’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Is Releasing Harmful Nitrates Into The Lake, Jeopardizing Its Health, Well-Being & The Adirondack Tourism Economy

Schumer Today Announces $500K In Northern Border Regional Commission Funding For Village To Make Long-Sought & Desperately Needed Upgrades To Sewage Treatment Plant, Following His Visit To The Lake In April & Tireless Advocacy 

Schumer: Funding Is A Major Step Towards Protecting The Jewel That Is Lake George From Pernicious Wastewater Discharge Pollution

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced, following his personal push, $500,000 in federal funding for the Village of Lake George. The federal funding was allocated through the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) Infrastructure Investment program and will be used to help make critical and long-overdue upgrades to the Village of Lake George’s wastewater treatment plant. Schumer explained that while the village does have a wastewater treatment facility in place, last year it was revealed the plant was sending more contaminated water back into Lake George than previously reported. So, Schumer leapt into action, traveled to the Village of Lake George, and launched an effort to secure federal funding for the sorely-needed repairs.

“Lake George, one of the most breathtaking natural treasures in all of New York State and a fundamental driver of the Adirondack tourism economy, is being polluted and degraded by an outdated wastewater sewage plant in the Village of Lake George. It is imperative that we get this plant replaced, as soon as possible, and this federal funding is a significant step towards doing so,” said Senator Schumer. “I was thrilled to come to Lake George this April to help local leaders identify potential sources of funding for this extremely worthy project, and am even more thrilled to announce today this crucial investment from the NBRC. I vow to keep fighting until we are rid of this pernicious wastewater discharge pollution that is endangering the health and well-being of the Queen of American Lakes and jeopardizing our local economy.”

“We sincerely appreciate Senator Schumer’s support in not only assisting our community in making our new Waste Water Treatment Plant affordable, but insuring that Lake George will remain “The Queen of American Lakes” for several generations,” said Robert Blais, Mayor, Village of Lake George.

Eric Siy, Executive Director of The FUND for Lake George, said, “Today’s grant award by the Northern Border Regional Commission is an investment in the long-term environmental and economic health of the Lake George Region. Thanks to the decisive leadership of Senator Schumer, these dollars will help the Village build a state-of-the-art treatment plant that will be protective of the Lake’s water quality and capable of safely accommodating the tens of thousands of people who visit The Queen of American Lakes each year. The risks to Lake George’s legendary water quality are real, particularly from harmful algal blooms that are devastating the environment and economies of lakeside communities in New York State and across the country. When the new treatment plant becomes reality, those risks will be greatly diminished, and we will owe Senator Schumer and the Commission deep appreciation for their crucial role on this must-do imperative to protect Lake George.”

“Along with the 2,000+ members of the Lake George Association, the Board of Directors and I want to thank the Northern Border Regional Commission and Sen. Charles Schumer for the $500,000 in federal funding to support the reconstruction of the Lake George Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Walt Lender, Executive Director of the Lake George Association. “It is a significant leap forward toward completing the project’s funding package, and is an important step in water quality protection. Nothing is more important to us than protecting Lake George. We were pleased to have provided the LGA’s support in the application process. It is heartening to see federal funding for this enormous and expensive project, which when complete will protect our Lake from excess nitrates well into the next century. It will also ease the financial burden on our residents and will give a much needed boost to the reconstruction process. The ability to maintain the pristine water quality of Lake George, classified AA special water body suitable for drinking, is of paramount importance to maintaining its place as an economic anchor for upstate New York.”

Schumer explained that the Village of Lake George has less than 900 full-time residents, and its local economy depends on the health and well-being of Lake George itself. However, Schumer said, in recent months it was revealed that the village’s wastewater treatment plant had been releasing high amounts of Nitrates into the lake, contaminating and polluting it. Because of this, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) placed the Village of Lake George under order to construct a new wastewater treatment facility.

Schumer has been focused on helping the Village of Lake George secure federal funding for the long-overdue sewage treatment facility replacement for months. In April of this year, Schumer visited Lake George and met with Mayor Robert Blais, along with other local officials, to help identify potential sources of federal funding for the sewage treatment upgrades, and suggested the village apply for it through the NBRC. After the village sent in its application in May, Schumer wrote to the NBRC, urging the approval of the federal funding. Last month, Schumer met directly with top brass at NBRC:  Harold Parker, Federal Co-Chair, Christine Frost, Program Director, and Jon O’Rourke, Program Specialist to stress the importance of the project.

The NBRC is a regional economic development partnership between federal, state, and local government. The Commission is composed of the governors of the four Northern Border states and a federal co-chair to provide financial and technical assistance to communities in the region to promote economic development and facilitate federal-state-local partnerships.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the NBRC appears below.

Dear Mr. Parker

I am writing in strong support of the Village Lake George’s application for funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) Infrastructure Investment program to make critical upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. Protecting the water quality of Lake George, “the Queen of American Lakes”, and preserving the tourist industry that depends on it, is directly tied to facility modernization of this essential service.

The proposed project will replace aging infrastructure that insufficiently treats effluent discharged to infiltration basins where it percolates into the ground and recharges the water table impacting West Brook and Lake George.  The effluent discharges in the area between the popular Lake George Steamboat Company dock and New York State’s public “Million Dollar Beach”.  The ability to maintain the pristine water quality of Lake George, classified AA special water body suitable for drinking, is of paramount importance to maintaining its place as an economic anchor for all of the Adirondack region.  The Village is under a consent order from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to build a new wastewater treatment plant, and it is earnestly trying to comply.  The issue is that the expected cost of $24,000,000 is overwhelming for a village of less than 900 permanent residents. 

Lake George is also located with the Adirondack Park, where industry is regulated by the New York State Constitution.  Tourism, is a $1.4B industry in the Adirondacks, supporting over 21,300 jobs.  Warren Country, home to Lake George, accounts for 42% of the region’s tourism sales.  Hundreds of thousands of people come from Canada and across the East Coast each summer, to hike and camp, to ride the boats, to parasail and to swim at the beach.  And, it is all dependent on maintaining the crystal clear water that Lake George is renowned for.  New York State has listed Lake George as being at risk for algae bloom, which would be devastating to the tourism industry.  This situation must be addressed quickly, but the 885 residents of Lake George need financial help. 

I respectfully urge you to award a $500,000 infrastructure grant for the Village of Lake George.  Thank you for your consideration.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in my Washington, DC office at ________.