Thursday, July 31, 2008

Please write today!

Folks - don't forget our earlier postings concerning writing a personal response to the DEC concerning the Groton STP permit application.

Your comments are desired and encouraged. Also see our past links to various represenatatives. Its pretty easy to do on-line!

Thanks for your suppport!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Write to our elected officials with your comments on Groton!

Please write our elected officials by August 8th!

To Write To The Governor:

Governor David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

To Email The Governor:Click here to email the Governor.

Responses may be sent via the U.S. Mail.

Contact our Senators on-line at:

Chuck Schumer:

Hillary Rodham Clinton:

or by mail/phone:

Senator Chuck Schumer
100 South Clinton Street, Room 841
Syracuse, NY 13261-7318
Phone: 315-423-5471Fax: 315-423-5185

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
James M. Hanley Federal Building
100 South Clinton Street
P.O. Box 7378
Syracuse, NY 13261-7378
Phone: (315) 448-0470 Fax: (315) 448-0476

Please write today!

link to draft Groton SPEDES permit:

Groton STP background document: article:

Posted by Lakeman at 8:06 PM 0 comments
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From the OWLA President - Groton STP response

On behalf of the members of OWLA (Owasco Watershed Lake Association), and all citizens who cherish Owasco Lake as a resource, WE NEED YOUR HELP. We are extremely disappointed and upset by the latest position taken by the NYSDEC. They informed us, (via a press release) prior to the recent Owasco Lake Forum at Emerson Park, that they had reduced the phosphorus limit in Groton’s SPDES permit to 2 pounds per day. A couple of days later, when the permit was made public, we learned that the limit would remain at 4 pounds per day for the next four years. Their position is totally irresponsible, irrational, and unacceptable. Essentially it is a slap in the face.

Weeds and algae are growing in Owasco Lake at an explosive rate. This unprecedented deterioration is unequivocal. Take a look for yourself! The amounts of phosphorus that continue to be discharged into the Lake, and that are accumulating, are destroying the entire ecosystem. Numerous groups and individuals have been pleading for a reduction of this irresponsible discharge, but to no avail. This beautiful lake indeed, is in serious trouble, and the NYSDEC continues to adversely affect the situation. They must be held accountable and responsible. This condition is absolutely at a critical phase.

Action must be taken immediately. The reduction of phosphorous is not only possible, Groton has proven it can be done. In September 2006, under orders from NYSDEC, tests to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the Owasco Inlet were performed at the Groton Treatment Plant. The discharged phosphorous level was reduced to under 2 pounds per day. This low level was maintained for the rest of 2006 and first half of 2007, but began increasing when no draft permit was forthcoming as promised. For at least the last year, the discharge level has averaged over 4.2 pounds per day due to lack of an agreement and enforcement!

The SPDES permit, which the NYSDEC now proposes, would allow a discharge of 4 pounds per day for the next 2 ½ years, and then over 3 pounds per day until 2012!! This is unacceptable. This irresponsibility must stop now. Immediate action must be taken.

Please visit the OWLA News blog at and join our letter campaign to Governor Patterson and our Senators Schumer and Clinton et al.

Please write a personal response letter by August 8th to the DEC:

John H. Merriman, Jr.
NYSDEC Region 7, Cortland SUB-OFFICE, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland NY 13045.

You must include these four Identification fields in your response:
*Applicant’s name: Village of Groton
*Applicants ID number: 7-5028-00005/00001
*Location: Groton, Tompkins County
*Reason for specific objection:

Please ask the NYSDEC to:

#1 Reduce the amount of phosphorus that is discharged from the Groton sewage treatment Plant immediately to under 2 pounds per day, or better yet, what the latest technology can achieve.
#2 Please request them to not phase in this reduction for 4 years until 2012 as the NYSDEC requests, but impose this reduction immediately. (Four pounds of phosphates per day will grow 2000 pounds of weeds per day, every day for the next 4 years, adding 2.92 million pounds of new weed growth on top of the current crisis.)
#3 Form a Citizens Advisory Council to advise and monitor this entire process.

Please write your letter today and e-mail me a copy on our news blog at

Thank you,

Joe Wasileski
President OWLA

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Write to the DEC about Groton

from the Auburn Citizen 7/18/08

Write to the DEC about Groton

By Guy Cosentino

Friday, July 18, 2008 11:47 PM EDT

The revelation disclosed late last week by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, that the new regulations being proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation would string out the reduction of the discharge of phosphorus from the Groton sewage treatment plant should be no surprise.

Possibly to avoid listening to a public outcry at the First Annual Owasco Lake Day earlier this month, the DEC publicly said they were going to propose regulations to reduce the discharge of phosphorus from four pounds a day to two at Groton. This was after more than a year of waiting for the DEC to act after it was clear that the long term health of Owasco Lake was in free fall.
So to avoid logical and rightful questions on their failure to act, they announced without details (they would, of course, come out after the Emerson Park event) about what the specifics of the new regulations would be. As suggested in this column on July 4, local residents needed to be concerned about what was being proposed and be vigilant to the point of action on what would be proposed.

Last week we all found out from Nozzolio that the DEC's regulations are for a more gradual reduction in the phosphorus discharge from Groton. In the end it will be another four years before the levels first suggested on June 27 will come to pass (that is if the DEC approves what they are proposing and don't weaken their already loose standards because of protests from Groton).

None of us should be surprised by this failure of the DEC to act in the public's interest. The DEC has a record of double standards and erratic behavior.Remember when the city of Auburn was kept to a higher standard, being required to have double lined landfills, which raised the costs of building a landfill compared to the private venture in Seneca County? It wasn't an issue of favoring one over the other; it was about the need for consistency. How about when DEC swooped into NUCOR, then known as Auburn Steel, when a small amount of radioactive material failed to set off working sensors and the company seemed to be treated publicly like a criminal in the mid-1990s?

So with this all in mind, using the mantra that “if it is to be it is up to me,” everyone who drinks out of Owasco Lake needs to write to: John H Merriman Jr., NYSDEC Region 7 Cortland SUB-OFFICE, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland, NY 13045, listing the project as the Village of Groton's application, number 7-5028-00005/00001 and write why greater reductions are needed by Aug. 8.

There is no better time than to get this done this weekend.

Cosentino is a former mayor of Auburn and can be contacted at

link to article:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Public Comment needed on Groton STP permit

Concerned citizens - we need your help!

The DEC has issued the draft SPEDES permit for public comment. The DEC has now suggested a phase in of the two pound daily limit that would not end until 18 months after construction of the new sewage treatment plant (STP) is completed(scheduled for Summer 2010).

Folks, this issue has been on the table for over 5 years. We really should stand our ground on this issue and not allow"phasing" in the 2lb. limit. Testing has proven for all practical purposes that the Groton STP can do the 2 lbs. limit now if they want to. There are also other questions relating to the monitoring period and other effluent parameter limits in the permit.

While we are spending money to fix this treatment plant, let's all insist that we do it right. OWLA's board is working on a detailed formal response to all the issues we have identified as questionable. Stay tuned here for some talking points for your responses in the coming days. Please read more about the situation through the links below.

Public Comment Period:
Written comments on the proposed permit should be mailed no later than August 8, 2008. All comments should be addressed to:
John Merriman,
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-1090

link to draft Groton SPEDES permit:

Groton STP background document: article:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Adopt-a-shoreline training by CCE, Sat. July 26th

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County is hosting an Adopt-a-Shoreline training class on Saturday July 26, 2008 from 10am-noon at the Education Center at 248 Grant Ave. in Auburn.

Participants will learn to identify, monitor and control invasive aquatic weeds, thus enabling them to help maintain local water sources.

Pre-registration is required by calling Cornell Coop. Ext. at 315.255.1183.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Canoe/Kayak Trip on the Owasco Inlet - July 26

The Owasco Flats Nature Reserve invites you to a Canoe/Kayak trip up the Owasco Inlet. Our first canoe/kayak for 2008 was held on June 14th and it was a great success!. Thanks to Bruce Natalie and everyone who attended. If you missed out, here is your chance to make plans to attend the next trip. See the attached flyer for more information.

Mark Whitmore, Forester and Author of the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Owasco Flats Report, will lead the trip on July 26, 2008 and share his knowledge of the ecological values of the Flats and the effects of water level changes on vegetation. JOIN US!

Reminder to Bring...a camera, binoculars, sunscreen, bug juice, water and check out the new canoe launch built by Tom Hayden's Construction Class. Please be aware that poison ivy does exist in the Flats (on the ground and on tree trunks) so please be careful. There are bathroom facilities at the Southshore Marina just before entering the road to the Flats.


When: July 26, 2008 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.
Where: Meet at the Owasco Flats parking area –
Cascade (west side of Owasco Lake), Firelane 1 off Rt. 38, past Cascade's Restaurant, go straight past marina and follow road to end.
There are Canoe and Kayak rentals
available at the South Shore Marina 315 497-2013
CALL 315-497-0343 FOR MORE INFO!
See you there!

Thank you on behalf of the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve, Inc.

Sandie Doran, Chairperson

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some Owasco Lake History...........

This view: Ice Harvesting on the Owasco Outlet at Emerson Park.

We know a lot of you have a great passion for Owasco Lake and also its very interesting history. Stories and pictures of the amusement parks, hotels, steam boats and sail boat races; all peak our interests. So we have decided to add some history to the OWLA News Blog.
I have been a student of Owasco lake history for over 20 years. Over that period I have collected quite a few interesting post cards. I will share some of the most interesting images and maybe some unusual stories in future blog entries.

If you have some Owasco Lake history you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Drop us an e-mail at

Also, check out our "links" to several web sites with some very interesting Owasco Lake History.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Owasco Lake Day - A great success!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Emerson Park today to celebrate Owasco Lake and the anniversary of the Lake Association! I would estimate the crowd at just over 250 attendees. An exceptionally large turn out by our local officials was also greatly appreciated.

Also, a big Thank you! to Norma Leone and her committee that arranged this meeting and worked all the details to make it happen. Nice Job!

One of the evenings highlights was the unveiling of OWLA's action plan for Owasco Lake. President Joe Wasileski and the OWLA board have developed an action plan for the future of Owasco Lake.

OWLA ACTION PLAN - July 1, 2008

1. Aid and Assist the Groton Community in facilitating their STP expansion
Attend public hearings, give input in the SPEDES permit process, aid and partner with Groton in this endeavor
Encourage possible movement of the fish farm to a more advantageous site

2. Create an INTERMUNICIPAL Organization and agreement with all communities and agencies within the watershed
Cost sharing and expansion of steward programs
A coordinated approach of all communities and agencies within the watershed is necessary to assure best practices to protect the lake
Identify ecologically critical areas within water shed
Establish regional approach to rules and regulation within entire watershed

3. Permanently protect and preserve OWASCO FLATS
Fund land purchases and increase awareness of the tremendous importance of this area to our water.
Restore portions of land to their original wetland state to aid in nutrient deposition
Work with land owners to provide buffers to reduce sedimentation
Partner with Owasco Flats Nature Reserve and WQMA to aid in mission

4. Promote viable and safe AGRICULTURE within the watershed
Utilize buffers and wetlands to control runoff and endorse best nutrient management practices
Partner with farmers to buffer all existing tributaries within their acreages
Help obtain funding to aid farmers in these goals
Tour farms to obtain understanding and cooperation

5. Support the role and resources of the WATERSHED INSPECTOR
Instill a sense of stewardship in all people living within the watershed
Aid inspector in anyway possible through volunteerism
Aid steward in educating lake residents
Help expand and broaden the inspector programs

6. Create the OWASCO WATERSHED NETWORK (OWN) developed by IAGT
Foster the creation of partnerships between key Owasco Lake stakeholders and agencies
Share data and information with a prototype internet portal connecting websites, and develop an electronic newsletter on DVD format
Employ and evolve decision making capabilities utilizing this system

7. Educate everyone within the watershed of the enormous importance and potential of OWASCO LAKE
Inspire an awareness, understanding and appreciation for Owasco Lake and its watershed
Develop curriculum to be taught in grammar schools and high schools
Develop courses at CCC in Environmental Science targeting Owasco Lake utilizing their interactive auditorium (for use by all residents)
Speakers Bureau and outreach to community

8. MONITOR AND SUPPORT the management of invasive species
Identify areas that need weed harvesting (Robert Johnson – Cornell)
Study new methodology to eradicate weeds eg. (Skaneateles Lake Program), lake mats, natural predators
Obtain permanent funding to aid programs
Continue OWLA water testing program and ally with Finger
Lakes Institute and Dr. John Halfman in their programs

Please come to our next board meeting to help OWLA work as group to achieve these goals for our lake!

Also at todays meeting, Senator Mike Nozzolio was bestowed Honorary Memebership in OWLA after he announced a $125,000 grant to IAGT for use in developing new technologies to enhance Owasco Watershed Management.

Many others also spoke about various environmental issues as well as energy conservation in the Fingerlakes. All-in-all the meeting was a great success that we look forward to holding in future years!