With the support of Governor Cuomo, in November 2019 the New York State DEC created a Harmful Algal Bloom task force for Lake Agawam to develop a lake remediation plan. The DEC’s HABS task force was led by DEC regional director Carrie Gallagher. Ms. Gallagher and her Albany based team made multiple trips to Southampton between November 2019 and March 2020 to meet with members of Lake Agawam Conservancy, Southampton Town, Village, Town Trustees, Dr. Gobler of Stonybrook University and local environmental groups to devise a comprehensive short and long-term approach to restore the health of our lake and its watershed. With the approval of the Town and Village Trustees, the first steps will include a combination of cutting edge hydrogen peroxide and sonic radar technology treatments which will help prevent algae blooms before they start.
To fill in data gaps in understanding the lake’s deterioration the LAC will be installing a sophisticated telemetry buoy in Lake Agawam that will provide real-time data on the Lake’s health, which will be reported on our website (lakeagawam.org.) We will also place more than 40 aerators around the Lake to improve water quality.
Beyond these short-term steps, the Conservancy has identified several longer-term measures to restore Lake Agawam. We plan to help fund a full-scale groundwater study to assess the sources and levels of pollutants entering the Lake. Being well-informed about where pollutants are entering the lake and stopping them at the source will allow us to restore the health of the lake. This groundwater study will help us determine if a permeable reactive barrier (“PRB”) can be installed underground at Lake Agawam Park and in other areas around the lake to intercept the nitrogen pollution before it enters the lake and before home septic systems can be upgraded, and the Village can install a water treatment facility and business district sewer system.
Dr. Gobler believes that one of the most effective way to improve Lake Agawam’s water quality will be to dredge the Lake. This will be a complicated and costly undertaking that almost certainly will require substantial government funding. The Conservancy is prepared to assist in planning this critical project.