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Million Dollar Beach closed due to elevated E. coli levels

Million Dollar Beach

Million Dollar Beach on Lake George was closed on Saturday after higher-than-allowed levels of E. coli have were reported. The beach is seen here in this Post-Star file photo. 

LAKE GEORGE — Million Dollar Beach was closed on Saturday after elevated levels of E. coli were discovered during sampling, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

News of the closure came via a Saturday morning tweet from DEC, which encouraged visitors to plan their next “outdoor adventure” by visiting the department’s website.

“BE ADVISED: DEC is temporarily closing Lake George (Million Dollar) Beach to swimming today, Saturday June 5, after sampling found E. coli levels above standards. Check back tomorrow for status,” the tweet reads.

The state closes freshwater beaches when 235 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water are found.

DEC did not immediately return a message seeking additional information on the closure, including the potential source for the elevated E. coli levels and how drinking water would be impacted.

The closure comes amid growing calls from residents and lawmakers to regulate septic systems around Lake George following the discovery of a harmful algal bloom last year near Assembly Point.

A cause for the bloom is still under investigation, but some — including the Lake George Association and The Fund for Lake George, the lake’s two most vocal protectors — have said nutrients entering the water through faulty septic systems are a likely cause.

The Lake George Park Commission, the state agency tasked with regulating the lake, announced it would begin an investigation into the impacts septic systems have on the lake’s water quality last month, but it’s unclear what, if any, regulations will be implemented as a result of the efforts.

In Warren County, an effort to require septic system inspections before lakefront properties can be sold hit a roadblock this past week over concerns the proposal would be too burdensome for property owners.

The proposal would require faulty systems be repaired before properties can change hands, and is modeled after a measure the town of Queensbury adopted in 2018, which has resulted in septic system repairs nearly 80% of the time.

The town of Bolton adopted a similar measure in 2019.

Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.

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