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Snails, drinking water concern DEC officials in Cazenovia

Town of Cazenovia officials met with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation May 14 to address DEC concerns with the potential impacts of treating Cazenovia Lake with herbicide.

According to Supervisor Liz Moran, the DEC was most concerned with lakeshore households drawing water directly from the lake and the possible for harm to the endangered amber ovate snail in Chittenango Falls.

It is recommended that water treated with the herbicide triclopyr not be used for drinking for several weeks after treatment. After the treatment, which is planned for the end of May, the town, village and lake association will provide potable water to residents at a water station at Lakeland Park or at the town office by appointment. Lakeshore residents may also be reimbursed for water purchases, Moran said.

"Also, we have arranged with Cazenovia College that people can shower there if they are concerned," Moran said. "There is no restriction on use of the water for showering -- this is just an extra measure offered."

The town is taking several steps to ensure that the herbicide treatment will be of no danger to the endangered amber ovate snail, a snail that lives underneath Chittenango Falls -- the south end of Cazenovia Lake is an outlet into Chittenango Creek, which is an inlet to the falls.

While it was originally planned to treat the south end of the lake initially, the town has agreed to move the treatment area to the north of the lake for the first year.

The town will also have a toxicity test done on a similar aquatic snail -- one that is not a protected or endangered species. A retired DEC scientist who now teaches at SUNY Brockport will perform the tests, exposing the snails to a range of concentrations of triclopyr for 96 hours and measuring their response.

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