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DEC inspects Mill Pond runoff

June 8, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A rust-colored substance spewed out of the culvert at the bottom of Ann Nugent-Morford's property on Mill Pond Drive and drained into the Chubb River Tuesday afternoon, May 29. Apparently, this isn't anything new for that particular culvert.

"You never know when it's going to come," she said. "It came today. Something else drained out less than a month ago."

Her daughter, Rachel Cunningham, said debris occasionally drains out along with the unidentifiable substance.

"We've seen needles, wrappers, condoms - all kinds of fun stuff coming out of the culvert," she said sarcastically. "All my nieces and nephews play in there, but they can't now, not with all that stuff in the water."

However, the most prominent pollutant Nugent-Morford said comes from the culvert is sand.

The village and conservation groups have addressed problems with salt runoff from roads and sidewalks in watersheds during the winter; however, the alternative, sand, can be cause problems, too. Though is does not change the chemical composition of water, too much sand is something that lakes and rivers would be better off without. Excess sand can also fill in fish spawning grounds on lake bottoms, hurting their populations.

The two said they've contacted the village multiple times in the past and that work crews clean the culvert; however, Nugent-Morford and Cunningham see the cleaning as less of a solution and more of delay to the problem.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., Cunningham called the state Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate the culvert. Two hours later, officer John Blades arrived. At that point, the rusty spillage had stopped, and there wasn't much Blades could do other than report it. He said he didn't know the specific engineering behind the culvert or where it started, but that he would try to find the source of the pipe after he left.

For the debris, Blades said, "That's unfortunate, but [that happens] every time someone drops something down the drain pipe."

As for the sand, he said, "If it's coming from the streets, that's just natural. I can't do anything about that."

Blades suggested Nugent-Morford call the village offices and ask how the culvert works.

In a phone interview, village Mayor Craig Randall said that rusty-looking substance is, in fact, sand. He said the culvert was constructed in 2005 when the village rebuilt Mill Pond Drive. The culvert is connected to a vortex, a multi-chamber filter designed to keep debris out of stormwater. However, if there is too much stormwater, such as after a heavy rain, the vortex can overflow and miss some debris. Randall said the vortex is cleaned every few months.

Randall said Nugent-Morford has contacted the village multiple times about the culvert. A few years back, the village obtained a permit from the DEC that would allow it to dredge the land, meaning it would remove sediment and debris from the river. However, Randall said Nugent-Morford didn't want all the machinery on her property.



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