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

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