By Mark Gerlach
Storm water runoff from excessive rain on the weekend of July 30 caused approximately 12,000 gallons of sewage to seep into Beaver Dam Lake. The beach was temporarily closed because of the contamination.
The beach reopened on Aug. 4, after being shut down for about three days. Water samples taken by the Orange County Department of Health on Aug. 2 were tested in a lab, and the results stated bacteria levels are “well below the maximum levels” permitted by state regulations for freshwater bathing beaches, according to an email from Lawrence Rossini, chairman of the Beaver Dam Lake District Board.
The lake district closed the beach on Aug. 1 after the sewage spill, which is believed to have come from the Town of New Windsor’s sewer system. The overflow seeped into the lake on July 31, Rossini said. The Orange County Department of Health was subsequently notified.
“It was reported that there was an overflow of the town’s sewer system into Beaver Dam Lake due to extensive rain over the weekend… a manhole cover was apparently overflowing and running into the lake,” Tim Gaeta, principal public health sanitarian in the county’s health department, said. “The Beaver Dam Lake District was proactive and closed the beach on their own on Monday.”
The lake isn’t regulated by the county health department. However, the health department issues a permit for the beach. Unrelated to the contamination, the beach was also closed on Aug. 3 because the lake was treated with algaecide.
The sewage reportedly emanated from a manhole near a home on Lakeside Drive. Town representatives investigated the discharge, and reported that the spill had stopped, according to Rossini. The spill is estimated to have flowed at a rate of 50 gallons per minute for four hours, totaling about 12,000 gallons.
The area received about 7 inches of rain in about 36 hours and was hit with “so much water the sewer pipes couldn’t take it all,” New Windsor Supervisor George Green said.
To read the full article see the Friday, Aug. 5 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.