QUEENSBURY — A meeting of Lake Sunnyside and Lake George landowners revealed a consensus the lake should be kept clean but concerns over the costs of a law that would require septic system inspections every time a property changes hands.
Town Supervisor John Strough explained the proposed law in a slideshow, slightly adapted from the Glen Lake presentation given in mid-July. Strough said residents came to the Town Board to suggest the law.
About 12 lakeside property transfers take place each year in Queensbury, town officials said. The aim of the law is to improve the town’s water bodies, Strough said. Faulty septic systems can pollute lakes and create harmful effects such as toxic algal blooms.
“If the water quality declines, who would want to buy a house where the beaches are closed?” he said.
The inspection costs $250.
“If the septic system is fine, it’s functioning, that’s good,” Strough said. “That’s good for the new owner, it’s good for the lake you’re adjacent to. If your septic system is not functioning, that’s not good for the new buyer and that’s not good for the lake.”
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Setback requirements were mentioned in the slideshow, and some residents said their small lots would make it impossible for them to meet those requirements.
Strough said the town can approve variances as long as the engineer’s plans make for a working septic system that treats the water.
Resident Steve Joiner said he believes his 1950s septic system works but will be mandated for an upgrade.
“We have an older system, I am not going to lie,” he said. “If you look at the way it’s built, it’s not conforming to what a brand-new standard (septic system) is. Our neighbors who have sunk hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars into homes, who is to say their system is not going to be outdated? I don’t like the government coming on my property and telling me what to do, anyway.”
The goal is to make sure water leaving septic systems is treated and clean, Strough said.
A Clarus Fusion septic system was presented in the slideshow. It costs around $7,000 and could have a UV disinfectant light added for an additional $700. It is small enough to fit on a trailer. This price did not include the cost of having engineers design the plans and the cost of installation.
In an informal poll of about 40 people in attendance, more than half raised their hands in general support of the law.