March 14, 2007
Ms. Rebecca Brumagin and Mina Town
Town of Mina
PO Box 38
Findley Lake, NY 14736
Dear Supervisor Brumagin and Town
As you know, the Water Quality Task
Force acted as a technical advisory committee for the Findley
Lake Sewerage Study. In addition to securing and administering
the grant that funded the project, we reviewed the progress
of this project and Dr. Wilson's groundwater study during
our monthly meetings. Through this process we developed a
set of recommendations for addressing certain non-point source
pollution issues in Findley Lake. Recommendations are listed
below to address each specific contaminant.
Phosphorus - It has been
determined that contamination of groundwater by phosphorus
in the Findley Lake valley is primarily caused by septic systems.
To address this contaminant, WQTF endorses the construction
of a low pressure collection system and centralized treatment
for sewage as outlined in the January 19, 2007 "Preliminary
Engineering Report - Findley Lake Sewerage Study.
We recommend that the Town appoint
a committee to initiate the following:
1) Request assistance from the NY
Rural Water Association and the Rural Community Assistance
Partnership (RCAP) to develop a plan outlining the steps needed
to pursue public sewers. They can provide free technical,
managerial and funding assistance to the Town for a wastewater
NYRWA: Mike Dill, (888) 697-8725,
RCAP: Catherine Rees, (607) 587-9219,
2) Request that your attorney research
what options are available to the Town to form a special district
and management entity. Your attorney may want to consult Mr.
Greg Yaw, a local attorney from Jamestown who is very experienced
3) Work with the Watershed Foundation
to develop a public education campaign that promotes sensible
lawn and garden care to reduce nutrient inputs to groundwater.
Nitrogen - A significant
amount of nitrogen in the groundwater has been determined
to come primarily from agriculture, but septic systems also
contribute to this problem. Like phosphorus, nitrogen contamination
from septic systems would be addressed by a central sewage
collection and treatment system.
Nitrogen contamination of groundwater
by agricultural activity is mostly isolated to areas where
farming occurs on gravel soils. These are sensitive environmental
areas where the utmost care must be taken by farmers to minimize
nitrogen leaching. This can be done through careful nutrient
management. The goal of agricultural nutrient management practices
within the Findley Lake watershed will be to minimize nitrogen
leaching into groundwater, and minimize losses of nitrogen
and phosphorus to surface waters as well.
The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation
Service, in conjunction with Cornell University, has adopted
the Conservation Practice Standard for Nutrient Management
(NY-590) which outlines detailed measures for minimizing nutrient
losses due to the application of nutrients from all forms
The NY-590 standard is recognized
as the best available technology for agricultural nutrient
management in New York State The latest version of the standard
is available on the internet at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/efotg/
The single biggest farm in the watershed
is owned by Matt Beckerink who follows the NY-590 standard.
However, since the groundwater contamination study has identified
fanning as the primary contributor of nitrogen, certain best
nutrient management practices can be selected to specifically
target this issue. Representatives from WQTF will meet with
Mr. Beckerink to review his current nutrient management practices
and make recommendations for implementing additional practices.
Chlorides - Ground water
in the northern portion of Findley Lake contains high levels
of chloride salts. The primary source of chlorides is from
road deicing agents. WQTF recommends the following actions
be taken by the Town to help reduce the chloride problem:
1) Construct a containment pad in
front of the Town's salt storage barn for mixing salt with
sand and loading trucks in the winter. The Soil and Water
Conservation District can provide assistance for this. There
may also be grants available to help pay for construction.
2) Do not use salt brine on Town
roads for deicing, dust control or any other reason. 3) Discontinue
dumping snow into the lake. The snow not only contains residual
salt but also sediment and other contaminants.
The Chautauqua County Water Quality
Task Force was pleased to partner with the Town of Mina and
the Findley Lake Watershed Foundation to complete this project.
David J- Wilson, Chairman
Chautauqua County Water Quality Task Force
P.c.: Ed Mulkearn, Findley Lake Watershed Foundation
Greg Edwards, County Executive
James Caflisch, County Legislator