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Chautauqua County Legislature enacts ban on plastic microbeads

MAYVILLE – Clean and safe waters in Chautauqua County became the target of three actions taken Wednesday by members of the County Legislature.

Legislation originally proposed by Legislator George Borrello, R-Silver Creek, was unanimously approved to prohibit the sale of personal-care products that contain plastic microbeads, modeled after an Erie County law.

Sherri Mason, a SUNY Fredonia professor, spoke Wednesday in support of the local law and said the microbeads are making their way into the food chain. She said there are natural alternatives to the micro beads in the products.

Nathan Drag, from the Alliance of the Great Lakes, Buffalo, spoke in favor of the law.

Drag is a former Dunkirk resident who said he worked as a lifeguard in the city. He said he sent a letter of support for the bill to each legislator and it was signed by other groups in Western New York.

Rick Winter, of Getzville, identified as a representative of the cosmetic industry, said that going forward the Legislature should also target a ban on microbeads used by industry. He said that cosmetic manufacturers support a statewide ban and would like action to be implemented over a five-year span.

The second action was to establish a fund of $2,500 for the county Sewer Agency to help identify septic systems that are discharging pollutants into Chautauqua Lake. The background on the resolution states that 1,200 septic systems exist around the lake and may be discharging phosphorus into the waters.

Also unanimously approved was $50,000 in funding to assist with managing invasive species in the waters of the county.