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Legislators hear about Penn Yan wastewater ADVERTISEMENT

Legislators hear about Penn Yan wastewater

PENN YAN--The Yates Legislature regular monthly meeting always has time scheduled for public comments.
Often times, only one person or many times no one from the public has a comment to offer. That was different at the Monday, May 13 legislature meeting.
Eileen Moreland, who resides at 1292 Arrowhead Beach Road in Dresden, asked for legislators help to improve the water quality in the Keuka Outlet.
Moreland said, "Based on testing by the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association over the past four years there is significant pollution in the Keuka Outlet. There are two primary contributing factors for the contamination of the Keuka Outlet. This first is farm run-off from the Jacob Creek area.
The second factor is the effluent discharge released into the Outlet from the Penn Yan wastewater plant. From there the effluent goes into Seneca Lake and then to our homes. Each day, the Penn Yan wastewater plant releases 1.2 million gallons of effluent daily down the Outlet. I repeat, that is 1.2 million gallons of the effluent released daily. The effluent is the liquid separated from the solid part of sewage. It (the effluent) is not disinfected year-round and their procedures haven't changed much in the past 20 years. The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association testing showed 61 percent of the (water) samples failed to meet water quality standards." Moreland said e-coli levels of the water samples are significantly above the established acceptable percentages.
Moreland said the current plan for the wastewater plant is to have the effluent disinfected by 2022. Moreland said the Department of Environmental Conservation keeps moving the date for improvements out in the future and the pollution is not getting reduced. Moreland asked legislators to contact the DEC along with other governmental groups and organizations to help get some urgency into reducing this daily pollution problem to the Outlet and Seneca Lake. After Eileen Moreland finished with her comments, Moreland's husband, Dr. John Moreland, added his comments about the importance of disinfecting the wastewater from the Penn Yan plant. Dr. Moreland said the DEC claims that sunshine will disinfect the water. Moreland said, "That is just not true. Anybody who lives here knows the sun doesn't shine very much here in the Finger Lakes area and the wastewater is not getting disinfected."
Legislature Chairman Douglas Paddock said the legislature has been supportive of the Nine-Element Lake Improvement Plan. Paddock said, "Other than that, we have no real power over the other state government groups." Legislator Bill Holgate said, "We have heard about this problem for a long time and we don't do much to make it better. I'll bet our response would be much different if the water in the Keuka Outlet was flowing the other way (towards Penn Yan)." Holgate received applause from the residents and others with that comment.
Paddock asked Holgate what his suggestion would be for the problem. Holgate said, "You know, it is one of those things we just keep hearing about this, we' re doing nothing about it, we keep pawning it off to the DEC but at the same time we need to help look for grants and every thing else we can do to help get this problem fixed."

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