DEC begins Superfund cleanup in Lake Flower

DEC plans to remove tons of contaminated sediment from Lake Flower. Photo by Phil Brown

Visitors to Saranac Lake this summer will be greeted by an unpretty sight: six hundred feet of green fencing, construction cranes, and a giant temporary storage facility on the shore of Lake Flower.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to remove tons of sediment in Pontiac Bay contaminated with coal tar, coke, and ash from a gas plant in the village. Other pollutants include volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes.

Starting in the late 1800s, the Saranac Lake Gas Company used a coal-gasification process to manufacture gas for lighting. The site of the plant on Payeville Road is now contaminated. The plant also contaminated Brandy Brook, which carried pollutants to Pontiac Bay on Lake Flower.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that DEC plans to remove 16,900 cubic yards of sediment from the lake. The sediments will be dewatered inside the temporary storage structure and loaded onto dump trucks. The bay will be backfilled with sand and dirt.

The work site is highly visible as motorists drive on Route 86 though the village. It is also the site of the ice castle built each February for the village’s winter carnival.

Pontiac Bay is on the state’s list of Superfund sites. Click here to find out more on DEC’s website.

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About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Byron Hadley says

    Is there a start date and finish date? Glad this is happening but still will be a hassle while it’s going on.

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