To the editor:
The Cazenovia Town Board’s presentation of plans to build sewer lines encircling Cazenovia Lake is based on the following assumptions: That the water quality of the lake is both poor and deteriorating; that the assumed poor water quality of the lake is caused by septic systems; and that installation of sewer systems would improve the water quality of the lake.
These assumptions are incorrect.
Studies by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Citizen’s Statewide Lake Assessment Program based on over 20 years of water sampling of Cazenovia Lake shows:
—The water quality of the lake is excellent, and classifies the lake as a “Class A” water body, deemed potable when properly filtered;
—No significant deterioration in the quality of the lake water;
—That the major source of water contamination to the lake is runoff from the surrounding landscape (approximately half of all contamination);
—That septic systems around the lake account for only approximately a quarter of the contamination flowing into the lake;
—That release of nutrients from the sediment of the lake accounts for approximately the same amount of contamination as septic systems.
The water quality of Cazenovia Lake is excellent, and sewer systems would do little to stem the eutrophication of the lake. Managing runoff by the installation of sedimentation ponds would offer the greatest benefit to the lake at a very reasonable cost — especially when compared to the cost of a sewer system.
Moreover, the process of the hearing enforced by the town board prevented presentation and discussion of the most critical issues.
The board structured the meeting to include a one-hour presentation of the particulars of installation of sewers followed by sequential discussion of six issues — leaving less than five minutes at the conclusion of the meeting for presentation of the current quality of the lake, the contribution of septic systems to water quality and other factors — including NYS DEC studies of the lake.
The structure of the Cazenovia Town Board’s presentation of new sewer districts borrowed much from the classic television quiz show “Beat The Clock.” Before the essential information could be presented, the clock had run out.
Richard P. Kavey