FINCH: RECENT TESTS NO REASON FOR COMPLACENCY Attends meetings to track progress, chart course on Owasco Lake
Despite recent testing that does not show detectable levels of toxins generated by blue-green algae in Cayuga County’s drinking water, Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) is still closely monitoring the progress of ongoing remediation and research efforts and is working closely with his colleagues in government to secure the long-term viability of the Owasco Lake watershed.
“Environmental factors beyond our control, such as cooling temperatures, are likely responsible for the algal blooms dying off now. While this is welcome news, it is no cause for complacency. After listening to colleagues in government, state regulators and lake experts such as Bob Brower, Dr. Dave Matthews and James Beckwith, I believe our path forward involves two major steps. First, we need to revitalize the filtration equipment for the Town of Owacso and the City of Auburn so they have the capability to oxidize these dangerous microcystins. Second, we need to continue monitoring ongoing efforts to reduce nutrient levels in the lake so we reduce the corresponding phosphates that generate these harmful algal blooms,” said Finch.
At a meeting on Monday, Finch joined Sen. DeFrancisco, Sen. Seward and Assemblyman Oaks for a briefing on the progress of remediation efforts funded by state grants they were able to secure. Finch said ongoing research and remediation by such groups as OWLA, The Finger Lakes Institute and The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District will help stakeholders prioritize new projects during the coming year.
“Right now, we’re finding out the most effective ways to get those nutrient levels down, and we’re learning where in the watershed those efforts make the most comprehensive impact,” said Finch. “Next session, I’ll be fighting to fund them, as well as upgrades to the Owasco and Auburn water treatment facilities.”
Finch also attended a productive meeting yesterday hosted by Congressman Katko and Sen. DeFrancisco. Finch said the congressman pledged to work on generating federal funding to help protect Owasco Lake.
Finch applauded them for their leadership. He noted that there was a bipartisan slate of officials at the meeting, including Owasco Town Supervisor Ed Wagner, Auburn Mayor Mike Quill and Chairman of the Cayuga County Legislature Keith Batman, as well as his state legislative colleagues.
“They know we all need to work together to solve this problem,” said Finch. “We all know the lake is our most treasured resource, and we all know there is a moral imperative to provide people with clean, safe drinking water.”