$15K Grant to LGA Will Solve Polluted Stormwater Issue

January 18, 2021

This announcement was published prior to the merger of the LGA with The FUND for Lake George in June 2021.

Trinity Rock Road is location of Water Quality Protection Project

Thanks to a $15,630 grant to the Lake George Association from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, a longstanding issue with polluted stormwater is going to be solved this year.

The project brings together the Lake George Association, the Town of Lake George, Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, Kathleen Suozzo, PE, and Martino Engineering to update the way polluted stormwater is handled along Trinity Rock Road.

hydrodynamic separator

Polluted stormwater is no match for a hydrodynamic separator, which will be part of the new project. This graphic shows why: polluted stormwater flows in (red arrows) and the water swirls around inside the device, separating garbage, oils, sand, and other materials from the water. The cleaned water flows out of the other side (green arrow).

Polluted stormwater carries phosphorus, nitrogen, other nutrients, sand, salt, oil, and other harmful substances. By stopping the nutrients from getting into the Lake, the Lake George Association’s goal is to protect the Lake’s water quality and, over time, improve it.

“The current stormwater conveyance on the west side of the Trinity Rock Road is outdated and cannot keep up with the volume, let alone treat it,” said Randy Rath, the LGA’s Project Manager. “We’re thankful to the Lake Champlain Basin Program for awarding our project the funding to make a real difference in protecting the Lake’s water quality there.”

The current system consists solely of a channel under the road fed by “drop inlets” that just collect and carry the polluted stormwater directly to the Lake without any treatment. “That kind of design is not acceptable any longer,” said Randy. “Polluted stormwater is by far the greatest human contributor to water quality decline in Lake George, so this is an opportunity for change.”

“Randy and I investigated the problem during a site visit a few years ago, and District staff were able to get a grant to move the project along,” said Jim Lieberum, District Manager of Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District.

An engineering plan was developed to update the infrastructure with new devices that could clean the polluted stormwater, so whatever stormwater gets to the Lake is much cleaner than when it started.

The plan calls for three new concrete catch basins to be installed along the road. The new devices include sumps, or recessed areas where sediment and debris fall out of the polluted stormwater, removing debris and the nutrients that are bonded to it.

Those devices will use the current pipes to convey the water into a hydrodynamic separator, a piece of equipment that screens, separates and traps soil (and the nutrients bound to it), debris, motor oil and other substances. (See graphic above)

The clean stormwater then flows into a culvert down to the Lake.

Randy sought out the grant to purchase the Contech CDS hydrodynamic separator as well as the catch basins that will be installed along the west side of the Trinity Rock Road, after discussing the needs with Soil and Water Conservation District and the Town.

The hydrodynamic separator is designed to annually reduce the total load of suspended solids (like soil that carries nutrients) by 80%. It is also capable of capturing and retaining 100 percent of pollutants greater than or equal to 2.4 millimeters (3/32 of an inch) regardless of the pollutant’s specific gravity (i.e.: floatable and neutrally buoyant materials) for flows up to the device’s rated-treatment capacity.

“Simply, the polluted stormwater that is running directly into the Lake now will be cleaned,” Randy said, “rather than just carrying the substances into the Lake’s water column.”

“In addition, the hydrodynamic separator is designed to be easy to maintain, which will be done by the Town of Lake George using the Village of Lake George’s enormous vacuum truck as part of the shared services agreement,” Randy said.

Any runoff that flows off the road that doesn’t get into the newly built system to clean polluted stormwater will flow onto a newly created “crib staircase” that will capture and infiltrate some of the stormwater and protect against further erosion.

The Lake George Association has worked for many years with the Lake Champlain Basin program because the Lake George watershed, at 233 square miles, is an important part of the New York portion (3,050 square miles) of the Lake Champlain watershed (8,234 square miles).

For more information, please call (518) 668-3558 or see the wealth of information on our updated website at http://www.LakeGeorgeAssociation.org

The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose 2,000+ members support water quality protection, water quality monitoring, education, invasive species protection, and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.

All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.