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Septic system repair plans in Morristown and Macomb move forward

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The St. Lawrence County Planning Office is moving forward with plans to rebuild septic systems in the towns of Morristown and Macomb after receiving overwhelmingly positive community feedback.

County officials are applying for $400,000 through the state’s Office of Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant program to repair septic systems in roughly 32 low- or moderate-income households around Black Lake.

The project was on tenuous footing when it was announced in November due to limited public response, though Planner Matilda M. Larson said her office has since received substantial community input.

Ms. Larson said the planning office has received more than 60 surveys from people in Morristown and Macomb who are interested in participating in the project.

The surveys will be included in the grant application, Ms. Larson said.

“It gives us the response rate to demonstrate the need,” Ms. Larson said.

As recently as two weeks ago, Ms. Larson said, she was “concerned about whether or not the project was even feasible.”

She said she since has become optimistic. The project will allow for much-needed improvements to septic systems that may be leaking into the Indian River watershed and adding to the high phosphorous levels in Black Lake.

“Our goal would be to help those who are the least well off,” Ms. Larson said. Households need to demonstrate that they are income-eligible to participate in the program.

In addition to receiving the needed response from the community, Ms. Larson said, the state pushed back the application deadline from Dec. 20 to Jan. 17, giving the county more time to pull together a persuasive document.

If approved, Ms. Larson said, funding could come as early as June, with construction beginning soon after.

For more information about the program, call the county Soil and Water Conservation District at 386-3582.

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