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Ludlowville FallsLudlowville Falls

After Lansing Town Board authorized up to $5,000 last March for lead testing in and around Salmon Creek from Ludlowville to the creek outflow area Councilwomen Katrina Binkewicz and Andra Benson collected samples to be analyzed by a local laboratory.  In mid-June Binkewicz reported on the results of the testing, and the Town Board discussed the results at its June 19th meeting.

"There was no measurable lead contamination in the sampling data that I found," Binkewicz said. "If we have questions from the public we could have an information meeting, but if everybody is comfortable with the data and the report as it stands, we did our due diligence."

After much local opposition to the Lansing Rod & Gun Club's plan to swap shooting ranges on its property, Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said last October that the Town had requested the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) test the water in the Ludlowville areas, but had not received a reply.  He also reported that Bolton Point had already tested its water and found it to be safe.  Testing reportedly done in behalf of the gun club also said the area was safe.

But LaVigne said he thought Ludlowville residents would be more comfortable if independent testing was conducted.  That led to Binkewicz, who has a masters degree and experience in soil sampling suggested using public money to test a small portion of the Town, saying that if the initial test of the surface soil did show lead contamination a more extensive independent test would be indicated..

LaVigne said the results should produce a 'sigh of relief' because of the testing results and the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) work on a lead mitigation plan, but said he is still concerned about potential contamination.

The Town owns Ludlowville falls, directly below the gun club.  LaVigne asked whether signage about potential danger of lead should be erected at Ludlowville Falls where many people swim during the summer months.

"Since we didn't find anything at the falls I think it's fair to not put a sign up," said Councilman Joe Wetmore. "We didn't find anything so it's the same Ludlowville falls that it's always been."

"There is no reason to worry people," Binkewicz said. "At the end of the report it says there is probably some lead there, so if you have small children who put stuff in their mouths you should be watching them. You don't know if they're eating gravel, worms, or a lead sinker from a fisherman?  Who knows?  That's just parenting at its best.  So I don't think we need a sign."

"One of the reasons I wanted to do the sampling early was that I got access to the outflow sediments that are now under water," Binkewicz added. "If there were spikes, or if there was one sampling area that was high in lead we would have done the next logical thing, which was to hire an environmental engineer to do further sampling in that area.  I don't think we need to go to that level of expense for the Town."

Binkewicz noted that she included a note at the bottom of the report encouraging people to share additional questions with LaVigne.  LaVigne said he has not had any negative response since the report was issued (it was posted on the Lansing Town Web site as well as in the Lansing Star.

"There's a whole host of things that we were worried about," Wetmore said. "This was one particular issue that people were asking us about.  'Is Ludlowville Falls safe?'  We can say we sampled all around it and we found nothing.  It's all we can really say at this point.  People fish in there.  I'm sure there are all kinds of things in there.  We tested and found nothing.  And we can say we're looking at a wide variety of potential contaminants that go into our streams and lakes, and we're trying to figure out ways to minimize all of those."

"We can't deny that there's a lot of lead out there," Binkewicz warned. "We can hypothesize that most of it is on-site (the Lansing Rod & Gun Club site).  But we don't know that either.  There could be some that washed out in the lake.  I think long-term the responsible thing is to make sure that lead that is deposited is recouped, is gathered, or not used."

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