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Caroga looking at upgrading septic ordinance

The town of Caroga held a regular board meeting on Wednesday. From the left is Councilman John Glenn, Supervisor James Selmser, Councilmen James Long, Kent Kirch and Jeremy Manning. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

CAROGA — During its regular meeting on Wednesday, the town board discussed possible solutions for new sanitation regulations along with a zoning ordinance to accommodate the different types of sanitation systems within the town.

There to present a proposed system was Larry Smith and John King, a professional engineer, who discussed an enhanced treatment unit.

“This enhanced treatment unit is basically a new technology. It treats the waste water, there are no living organisms that come out of the tank, it meets [Department of Environmental Conservation] district standards and it’s a perfect solution for some of the situations we encounter with waste water in town,” Smith said. “It’s really the only option at this point of effectively treating effluent or sewage into the town.”

He said it is approved by the state Department of Health, but there have been some setbacks with the system including boundaries and distances from wells.

King said the system works “beautifully” as long as it’s maintained.

John King, a physical engineer, left, and Larry Smith, right, present a sewage system to the town board during its regular meeting Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

He said with this system there must be a maintenance contract otherwise it could cause issues.

Since the system requires maintenance, the town board’s main concern is liability.

Supervisor James Selmser suggested scheduling a meeting with King and Smith, the town code officer and board members to discuss possible upgrades to the town’s sanitation system and a possible ordinance that clearly states that the town will not be liable for maintenance.

Another concern of town board members is what has been done in other towns to solve issues with setbacks.

“If we were to change our zoning ordinance, we’re endorsing this,” said Councilman James Long.

He said if the town were to change the zoning ordinance that allows for these systems to be placed within less than 100 ft., but a neighbor’s well is 20 ft. away and that causes a problem.

“We have to make sure as a board, we’re not liable as a town,” Long said.

Long said they support the upgraded system, but want to ensure the town is not held liable.

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