Park Commission Begins Second Year of Septic Inspections

March 26, 2024

LAKE GEORGE — This month starts year two of mandatory septic system inspections by the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC), which expressed optimism at its March 26 monthly meeting that property owners will continue to cooperate with the state agency.

Letters from the LGPC went out in early March to notify approximately 500 property owners that 2024 is their year for inspection. (Find your inspection year on the LGPC’s Public Map.) About a dozen recipients are on the schedule so far. 

“Everyone gets it,” said Joe Thouin, LGPC Deputy Director. “They think about what’s in their septic tank and what’s in the Lake, and it’s easy for people to understand the importance.”

NY State enacted wastewater regulations and mandatory septic system inspection and pump-out around Lake George last year to reduce the amount of wastewater leakage in the Lake from faulty septic systems. Wastewater contains nutrients that feed algae growth, increasing the risk of harmful algal blooms.

Properties within 500 feet of Lake George or 100 feet of a regulated stream are required to have their system pumped and inspected every five years. All septic systems within the Lake George basin must be pumped out at least once every 10 years.

Between April and October of 2023, the Park Commission completed 330 of 355 planned inspections. Of those, 46% passed, 16% needed repairs, 15% were substandard, and 23% failed. Cesspools were the primary culprit among the failed systems, followed by sewage backup and lack of absorption.

Last year the LGPC said the failure rate was higher than anticipated, creating a challenge for septage intake from haulers who pump out septic tanks. Currently, only Ticonderoga and Lake George Village can accept the septage, but at limited amounts. The Park Commission is currently investigating alternatives.

The LGA's SafeSepticSystems.org offers homeowners and businesses a complete guide to septic systems maintenance, from fixing to financing.