FULTON, NY – NYS Senator Patty Ritchie representing District 48 made a stop in Fulton to see the dredge that was purchased with partial funds secured through a grant from her office.
“Eight years ago when I first got involved in Oswego County, this was one of the first projects I heard about,” Ritchie said. “It’s great to come here and see it happening, to see how far you’ve come in tackling the problem.”
Officially, the dredging of Lake Neatahwanta began three years ago.
In its first year, Ritchie secured $100,000 for the city of Fulton to help offset expenditures for hiring an out of state dredging company to perform the work. Likewise, the town of Granby was awarded $100,000 through a grant from Senator Ritchie for dredging purposes as well.
In the second year, the same financial commitment was made to both municipalities again.
This year, Senator Ritchie utilized a $100,000 grant to help the city of Fulton to purchase a dredge from the company that had been doing the work prior, Groh Dredging.
With matching funds from the city, the $200,000 purchase is sure to make the project’s process speed up, Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. said, all the while maintaining the overall goal to make the lake swimmable and safe for recreational use once again.
Dredging became a necessary project, Woodward said, after years of sediment build up contributed to a shallower depth and warmer water, both conditions that allow blue-green algae to thrive.
The presence of blue-green algae was the reason the lake was deemed not-swimmable by local health officials, closing the once heavily used Stevenson Beach off of C.C.W. Barrett Drive.
The process of dredging involves disturbing the nutrients in the water by using the dredge to reach 4-5 feet under the lake bottom, pumping water and sediment through a hose into a geotube on shore.
From there, an environmentally safe chemical, flocculant, then separates the water from the solid material, at which time clean water seeps out of the tubes and returns to the lake.
A project permit will allow dredging to continue for seven more years.
Woodward is adamant that the purchase of the dredge will allow the project to move along faster and well as more cost effectively, and he thanked Senator Ritchie for her role in that purchase.
“It’s a long process but at some point people will be able to use it again. You should be proud of yourself because most people (dismiss) Fulton but with your assistance this is really going to help the whole community, so thank you,” Woodward said to Ritchie.
“I can’t wait to see them swim in it!” Ritchie replied.
Aside from yearly contributions, Woodward said Ritchie has also used grant funding to help Fulton Fire Department purchase a fire engine as well as most recently securing a $200,000 grant for completing demolition at the former Nestle site.
“She has been very helpful for the city of Fulton,” he said.