Town of Salina
Three residents of the Sun Harbor neighborhood pleaded with the Salina Town Board to do something to clean up swamp-like conditions at the lagoon that sits adjacent to their properties.
“I’m concerned about the lack of maintenance of the lagoon,” Joan Royle, who lives on Yager Drive, told the members of the Salina Town Board at their Sept. 24 meeting.
H. Pat Ehle, who has lived in Sun Harbor for 35 years, pointed out that the housing tract abuts the village of Liverpool’s northwestern boundary. He asked the town councilors if the issue will be addressed in their upcoming town budget.
Sun Harbor Drive resident Paul Wavercheck said the pond “looks horrible” and some people refer to it as a swamp. “But it doesn’t have to be pristine,” Wavercheck said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty blue, but it should be maintained. It isn’t really that difficult.”
Town Engineer Doug Wickman disagreed.
“The town has been addressing this issue for 14 years,” Wickman said, “with limited success.” The town owns the property which is covered by the pond, according to Town Attorney Bob Ventre.
The town board acted on the problem in 2004 and 2005, when the pond was determined to be an undedicated drainage facility due to the existence of catch basins and drainage lines.
At that time, Wickman said, Niagara Mohawk installed pumps in the pond to encourage aeration and the lagoon was stocked with sterile fish that eat duckweed, which floats on or just beneath the surface of still or slow-moving bodies of fresh water. Unfortunately, the fish died off and the pumps stopped working because they’re clogged by weeds.
Besides hosting the oxygen-depleting duckweed, the lagoon has been overgrown with coontail weeds — rootless masses of floating and submerged oval-shaped leaves with dense spiked flowers which create a scummy appearance in the water.
“It’s important to know that the area was once considered a wetland,” Wickman said, citing a 1958 U.S. Geological Survey, and that designation means the town must comply with federal laws regulating wetlands. For instance, Wickman said, the chemical treatment of the weeds there is prohibited because the lagoon drains into Onondaga Lake.
Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra — who was on the town board when it approved lagoon-control measures in 2005 — said that now he’s not sure what the town can do. Wickman will research the town’s options for the next month, Nicotra said.