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Sewers and lake health: What is the connection?

From Cazenovia Town Councilor Moran

The Cazenovia Town Board, Village Trustees and Sewer District have been investigating the costs and feasibility of extending sewers into areas of the shoreline. We are making good progress, and have lots of detailed information to report.

Before describing how we’ll make this important decision, we have included some background material describing the relationship between sewers and lake health.

The state of the lake

First, let’s recognize just how important the lake is to our community. A healthy lake provides recreational opportunities, beautiful views, habitat for fish and wildlife and a huge boost to our local property tax base. Because of the lake’s immeasurable value to us all, the town, village and Cazenovia Lake Association have been collaborating on effective ways to protect and improve water quality.

The lake has been plagued for decades by excessive growth of aquatic weeds. The chemical treatment program in 2009, 2010 and 2012 has been effective in controlling Eurasian watermilfoil and reducing the overall mass of aquatic plants in the lake. However, dense growth of weeds is still present in some areas, notably the northeastern region of the lake where the water is shallow and sunlight can reach the lake bottom.

This September, an algal bloom turned some nearshore areas of the lake bright green. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation tested samples from this bloom, and identified the presence of harmful blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

This finding led to a warning to avoid swimming in, and keep pets away from, areas of the lake with visible blooms.

Plants and algae are part of a healthy lake ecosystem, but excessive levels interfere with the lake ecology and our ability to use and enjoy the resource. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information that can help guide our efforts to protect Cazenovia Lake and minimize the risk of excessive plants and algal blooms.

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