By Gwendolyn Craig
Dog Beach, the unofficial beach adjacent to the state’s Lake George Beach in the village, is transforming into a water quality project.
The popular hangout was fenced off around Memorial Day weekend after beach-goers were not social distancing at the height of the pandemic. But take a walk in the village now, and you’ll see construction equipment and the area dug up.
The state “is retrofitting an existing stormwater outfall,” a spokesperson with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said, “with a stormwater biofilter.” That means more water quality protections for the lake, but it also means the space the public can use will shrink a bit.
Lake George Beach, also referred to as Million Dollar Beach, has had issues with spikes of E.coli in the past. While E.coli is naturally occurring in the environment, some of the high-levels found in past years led to beach closures and investigations of outflows, septic systems in the southern basin and stormwater drains. Though the beach was free of closures this year, plenty of potential E.coli sources remain. Most of the E.coli hits found in the past were on the opposite side of Million Dollar Beach as Dog Beach.
All sorts of other pollutants can run off into the lake, especially with roads so close by. The DEC said this water quality project will help filter a variety of pollutants, including bacteria like E.coli.
Future of Dog Beach
It’s not clear what public access will look like in the future. Dan Barusch, director of planning and zoning for the Town of Lake George, said Dog Beach has been an unregulated and unsanctioned place. It has not always been a clean place either, due to behavior of its visitors.
“We had caught people bathing in the water, animals defecating, people disposing of diapers on the beach,” Barusch said. “There’s been a lot of probable contamination.”
The project began on Oct. 19 and is expected to be finished by Nov. 19. It is costing about $107,000 and is funded through New York Works, according to the DEC.
Once the project is finished, “the public will still be able to access the area to the west along with approximately 10 feet of beach area in front of the stormwater biofilter,” the spokesperson said.