Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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

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