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'Million Dollar' Beach Closed for E. coli Investigation
New York Ag Connection - 06/22/2017

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Wednesday that it is closing Lake George (aka "Million Dollar") Beach to swimming through Friday, June 23, due to E.coli counts that exceed New York State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines. DEC will close the beach while the agency, working cooperatively with the village of Lake George, town of Lake George, Lake George Park Commission, Lake Champlain/Lake George Regional Planning Board, Lake George Association, and Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, to aggressively investigate potential sources of E.coli and work to eliminate the contamination.

"DEC is committed to finding and eliminating the bacteria causing this contamination and ensuring visitors to Lake George's Million Dollar Beach have clean water to swim in," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Our scientists and engineers are tracking down every possible source of contamination. We're also working closely with our state, local and county partners to make sure the beach is a safe and enjoyable spot to visit this summer."

Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Conover said, "Warren County joins with the city and town and DEC to investigate the source of this contamination. Our cooperative efforts will get to the bottom of this and lead us to measures to fix this problem as soon as possible."

Town of Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said, "This is a difficult problem with a lot of moving parts that has our full attention. We are actively working with the Village of Lake George, State officials and local private environmental groups to explore all options to correct the problem as quickly as possible."

Village of Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said, "This is an unprecedented occurrence on our lake that demands a swift response. The Village of Lake George has committed all available staff and resources and is working closely with DEC to resolve the problem and protect our beautiful lake."

Lake George Association (LGA) Executive Director C. Walter Lender said, "As part of our century-long commitment to protect Lake George water, the LGA is working very closely with the state agencies and municipalities to track down the source causing these readings. It is critical for residents and visitors to feel comfortable swimming and boating in the Lake, and we will do whatever we can to ensure this problem stops, once the source has been identified."

Results from water samples taken on June 18 showed colonies of E.coli that exceeded the DOH's 235 colonies of E.coli per 100 ml risk level. Recent excessive rains may have contributed to the presence of E. coli. Although the results from the most recent sampling of the swimming area were below Department of Health guidelines, out of an abundance of caution, DEC will delay reopening the swimming area while multiple agencies launch aggressive track down efforts.

DEC met Tuesday with representatives from the town of Lake George, village of Lake George, Lake George Park Commission, Lake Champlain/Lake George Regional Planning Board, Lake George Association, and Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District to discuss a plan of action to investigate the source of bacteria. DEC will reconvene the partners on Friday to evaluate the findings of the investigation and determine next steps.

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