MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced it will be applying aluminate sulfate in Mohegan Lake today as a part of a pilot-program to improve water quality by binding phosphorous, which will control eutrophification. The program was undertaken in February 2018 following advocacy by Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and former Senator Terrence Murphy and coordinated by his chief of staff, Matt Slater, who is now a candidate for Yorktown Town Supervisor.
“It’s great to see the work i engaged in during my time in the State Senate is coming to fruition,” Slater said. “Thank you to the Mohegan Lake Improvement District for keeping up the fight to get the alum treatments approved.”
The program was announced at a press conference today by current Senator Pete Harckham. However, only local Democratic elected officials were invited to the press conference. In contrast, in an effort to rid the lake of it toxic green film, Senator Murphy and Westchester County Executive George Latimer had teamed up to write a letter to Basil Seggos, Chairman of the Department of Environmental Conservation, urging the need for the coordinated rehabilitation plan, including the use of alum to restore the lake’s water quality as well as the area’s overall environment.
A year ago, Senator Murphy said it was his belief that Lake Mohegan will prove the use of alum can successfully battle phosphorous and other harmful algal blooms that plague the area. “We can return the lake to its status as one of the major destinations for recreation in Westchester County,” he said.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said at the time that “Lake Mohegan is one of the most contaminated water bodies in New York State. It is time we act to change that. The use of alum has, in test cases, shown to be effective in combatting the spread of harmful algal blooms, and I commend Senator Murphy’s efforts to expand its use here.”
Several weeks ago, Slater pointed out the town has done little to address the issues Mohegan Lake faces under the Gilbert administration. He pointed out how the town has failed to move forward with a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, a comprehensive planning document that was authorized by the passage of legislation last year. He also noted the town chose not to apply for an EPF LWRP grant in May of 2018, even though the town was eligible at the time.
The alum pilot program is just part of the work Slater has done on Mohegan Lake issues since serving as an Assembly Chief of Staff from 2011-12 and Senate Chief of Staff from 2015-19 representing Yorktown.
Along with prior letters supporting the application of copper sulfate, alum and altering rigid soil testing requirements to suit local needs at Lake Mohegan, Slater delivered an $80,000 grant to purchase a new weed harvesterfor the Mohegan Lake Improvement District. He also helped secure four summits supporting the state’s comprehensive effort to protect vulnerable lakes and waterbodies in Upstate New York from harmful algal blooms. He also helped author and pass the first comprehensive harmful algal bloom mitigation program in the nation through the State Senate, based on the State’s invasive species program.
“I have always believed we should put community above politics,” Slater said. “However, today we saw Supervisor Gilbert play the exact political game he consistently accuses anyone with new ideas of playing. Not only did he try to take credit for something that I was proud to work on during my time in the State Senate, but neither Councilman Diana or Councilman Lachterman were invited to attend today’s event. Yorktown deserves better from their Town Supervisor.”