Lake Placid faces the serious challenge of invasive species, non-native plants and animals that can crowd out native species. Once they establish themselves in a lake, it is extremely difficult to remove them. Variable-leaf Watermilfoil (milfoil) was first detected in Paradox Bay in 2009. In 2019, divers hired by the SOA harvested more than 1,000 pounds of milfoil from the Bay. Communities that fail to take persistent action to prevent and control invasive species suffer dire consequences:
- Water becomes unsuitable for drinking, swimming and boating
- Native plant diversity declines
- Fish and invertebrate populations decline
- Mosquito populations increase
These consequences have the combined effect of destroying the natural habitat of a lake and adversely impacting the vibrancy of the community. The SOA works with state and local governmental agencies and conservation organizations to prevent and control the invasion.
It is recommended that septic systems be pumped out when the tank is 1/3 full, and are inspected annually by a licensed septic company, inspector, or plumber to make sure they are connected and working properly. Leach fields should have plenty of sunlight and be clean of leaves, fallen branches, and other debris.
To better protect the lake from exposure to excess nutrients and pollutants, the Town of North Elba passed the “Lake Placid Lake Septic System Inspection Law”. The law requires that all septic systems proximate to the lake be inspected every three years for year-round residences; every five years for seasonal properties; if there is reasonable cause to believe that a septic system is not functioning properly; and when the property upon which the septic system is located is conveyed to a new owner.
Failed systems cause sewage to seep into the lake. Sewage entering the lake is problematic for two reasons. The first is the obvious one in that it is our drinking water. The second reason is that it carries with it phosphorus, the primary nutrient that triggers algae blooms. A single failed septic system can cause a localized algae bloom on the lake. The collective contribution of many septic systems not performing properly can lead to lake wide declines in water clarity and quality. In the most extreme cases, harmful algae blooms (HABs) can form, posing threats to drinking water and recreation through the presence of dangerous toxins.
Through its Annual Pump-out Program, the SOA organizes and pays for a barge to reach lake access only camps, making it easy for members to maintain their septic systems at a greatly reduced price. Please refer to the SOA website for further information, or contact the SOA administration by phone or email.
Tap Water Testing
Lake Placid is one of the purest lakes on earth. Only 2.5% of the water on earth is fresh water, and of that only 1% is suitable for drinking. Lake Placid is included in that 1%, classified as AA-Special, the highest rating for water quality. It is a rare and beautiful resource that must be protected.
For generations, many shore owners have been drinking unfiltered water directly from the Lake. Other shore owners choose to install filtration systems to ensure high quality drinking water. For those who do, the minimum recommendation is a particulate filter with a .5-micron cartridge, followed by an ultraviolet filtration system.
Volunteers from the SOA perform tap water tests to help lakefront property owners to detect coliform and E. coli bacteria. State standards stipulate zero tolerance for both. When a positive test does occur, it is usually due to waterfowl or wildlife waste that has flowed near a water intake when a sample is drawn. Leaching from faulty septic systems can cause a positive test, so it is critical that shore owners diligently inspect their system for leaks and make necessary repairs.