ASHVILLE-The importance of properly maintained wastewater treatment systems near lakes and waterways was stressed to area homeowners and private businesses, as well as state and local officials.
On Saturday, the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission hosted a second "Homeowner Education Workshop on Improved Wastewater Management for Lakeshore Communities."
The workshop allowed attendees to hear and interact with experts on how waterfront septic systems can be a potential source of lake pollution and human health risk. According to Bill Boria, water resource specialist and workshop moderator, the goal was to address potential solutions to several issues faced by Chautauqua Lake and the lakeshore communities.
In the past, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has posted signs such as the one pictured at right to encourage lakefront property owners to take care of the lake.
P-J file photo
"We've got public health issues when we have small lots, and we can't properly treat sewage or have a good functioning septic system," he said. "There are wells in close proximity to septic systems, and that's a public health issue. Plus, septic systems and sewage in general contain a lot of phosphorus-60 percent of phosphorus in household wastewater comes from toilets. And eventually, some of it ends up in Chautauqua Lake and fuels (the growth of) weeds and algae. So, if we can reduce that, that's the goal."
Information regarding the function and proper maintenance of private septic systems was distributed, and several guest speakers spoke to a variety of topics, including: the total maximum daily load of phosphorus allowable for Chautauqua Lake and its impact, solutions for municipal sewage treatment plants, alternative and enhanced methods of phosphorus removal, alternative wastewater technologies on different sites and a comparison of four septic system management programs for lakeshore communities.
"The lake is in desperate need of these types of solutions," said Boria.
One of the speakers at the workshop was George Barden, Canandaigua Lake Watershed Inspector, who demonstrated some of the current technology and innovative designs in on-site water treatment systems that have been employed in shoreline residences on Canandaigua Lake.
"In my presentation, I'm not saying that what we're doing is what ought to be done here," said Barden. "I present the information so people can see how it works for us. Any bits and pieces of what we're doing that they can use to make it work for themselves - great. It's up to these people to decide how they want to implement any portion of what we're doing."
In addition to Barden, the other workshop speakers included: Jeff Diers, watershed coordinator; Tom Cherry, Chautauqua Utility District superintendent; Tom Carlson, director of North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District; Bob Eichinger of Onsite Engineering, LLC; Bill Boria; and Sri Vedachalam of Cornell University.
The CLMC hosted the workshop in partnership with the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Cornell University. The workshop took place at the Hewes BOCES Center in Ashville.