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St. Lawrence County tries to capture grant to assist Black Lake homes

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County will apply for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to help low- and moderate-income, year-round residents of Black Lake with their septic systems.

If the money is awarded, it probably would help about 35 households in the towns of Morristown and Macomb. The ground around Black Lake is rocky and the soil shallow, which is why the money may not go further, said Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction.

“They may need some engineering work,” county Deputy Planning Director Jason C. Pfotenhauer told legislators at a meeting Monday. “There may need to be multiple rounds for this grant. Every little bit helps.”

Problems with septic systems on the lake were highlighted by this spring’s thaw, which flooded many homes and camps on the shore.

“A lot of septic systems are still under water, and we all know where that’s going,” said Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg.

The needs of Black Lake are important to address because of the economic benefits it brings the county as a prime spot for fishing and recreation, Mr. Lightfoot said.

He said he hoped camps might be included in future applications.

“Any of the camps, the effluent is going into the lake,” he said. “That’s part of the weed problem.”

Recipients of any grant money have not been selected yet, but there is a list of interested homeowners, Mr. Pfotenhauer said.

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