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DEC says phosphate pollution imperils Chautauqua Lake

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua Lake is “in peril” because of phosphate pollution, and it will cost between $2.8 million and $4 million to improve the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District’s treatment plant to solve the problem, county legislators were told at a public hearing Wednesday.

Tom Carlson, director of the sewer district, said the state Department of Environmental Conservation determined that the lake was “in peril.” He said about 90 percent of the phosphorus that goes into the sewer treatment plant must be removed before it is discharged into the lake, according to a mandate by the DEC. He said the cost will be between $2.8 million to $4 million to make changes to the plant.

Carlson said a pump station and new filtering equipment will be required. The facility will be mandated to clean up the output by June 2018.

The estimated cost to pay for the improvements will be about $94 more per family each year, according to Carlson. The annual fees would be about $472 he said. He said commercial uses are based on different rates, but would also rise to pay for the costs of the improvements.

Sewer costs are based on user fees and are not part of property taxes.

John Jablonski of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy said that his agency was pleased with the plan to clean up the discharge from the sewer treatment plant.

The motion for the cleanup was unanimously supported by the 19 members of the Legislature.

A new agency to review pollutants in Chautauqua Lake was also formed by a resolution of the county Legislature.