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Outflows from Lake Ontario to remain at record levels, won't be increased

The International Joint Commission announced Monday that it won't increase the amount of water flowing out of Lake Ontario this summer, but it will maintain the current record-tying outflows until the water level falls more than a foot below current readings.

That is forecast to occur around the middle of August, spokesman Frank Bevacqua said.

The current outflow of nearly 2.5 million gallons per second began June 13 and matched the outflows that the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, an IJC subsidiary, allowed after the 2017 floods along the lakeshore.

The IJC statement said allowing stronger flows down the St. Lawrence past the power dam at Massena would require halting shipping on the river between St. Lambert and Cape Vincent, with an estimated economic loss of $50 million per day.

Tuesday morning's lake level, measured at Olcott by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was 248.77 feet above sea level, down 3 to 4 inches from this season's peak.

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