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Cause Of Lake Discoloration Still Not Fixed

Silt filling and discoloring Lake Lucille comes from a residential development on the Clarkstown/Ramapo border

 

Despite three state-issued Notice of Violation letters and a Stop Work Order, the developer of a residential project on the Clarkstown/Ramapo border has not implemented sufficient measures to stop soil and sediment from flowing off the property and into Lake Lucille. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued the Stop Work Order on August 30 and sent the Notice of Violation letters on July 12, August 30 and October 4.

On Tuesday, DEC spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach said, “The Stop Work Order is still in effect.”

She said Joy Builders of Monsey has not yet taken adequate steps to stop the flow of silt and sediment off the property where the Sky Ridge subdivision is being built. The agency plans to address the problem directly with builder Joseph Herskowitz.

“We going to have them come in for a compliance conference,” said Rosenbach.

She expects the conference will be held within a week or two.  The DEC is waiting for Joy Builders’ response to the latest Notice of Violation. 

The residential development on Buena Vista Road and Overlook Drive has been identified as the likely source of silt flowing into and discoloring Lake Lucille in New City.

“Our lake isn’t what it was back in July,” said Bill Terribile, president of the Lake Lucille Property Owners Association, who said the lake began changing color in August.

The most recent Notice of Violation stated the property has improperly maintained sediment basins and catch basins, an un-stabilized interior road and violated state Water Quality Standards. Those violations can result in penalties of $37,5000 daily for each infraction. The Town of Ramapo notified the developer in August that town and state soil erosion control measures were not being followed and ordered an appearance in Ramapo Town Court on Oct. 16. Messages requesting to speak with Herskowitz were not returned.

Terribile said nearby bodies of water are being affected. He described Crum Creek, which feeds into Lake Lucille, as looking like “chocolate.”

“I can’t believe people would do this to people’s drinking water,” said Terribile. “This is a major environmental cleanup that I don’t even know how you would do it.”

Local and state officials are also concerned and sent letters to the DEC. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) toured the area including one private property with a pond that had filled with silt. He contacted William Janeway, regional director of the DEC, directly and asked for the agency to intervene.

“We absolutely need the DEC’s help and assistance both to ascertain what the cause as well as analyze the extent of the damage,” said Zebrowski. “They also need to hold whoever is responsible fully accountable.”

“With each rainstorm more damage is possibly being done,” said Zebrowski.

Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack and Rockland County Legislator Ed Day (R-New City/Pomona) sent letters emphasizing the need to protect the area’s water supply because Lake Lucille flows into Lake DeForest, which is a source of drinking water for Rockland and Bergen counties.

“This event does not only affect the small community of Lake Lucille,” said Day.  “It has impact on the water supply in both Rockland and Bergen counties.  No matter the cause of the erosion, I am calling upon the DEC to be an aggressive advocate for our community in general and the Lake Lucille community, specifically.”

Rockland County Legislator Ed Day October 09, 2012 at 10:00 PM
This is precisely the type of battle I fought when I was president of the Little Tor Neighborhood Association, and I proudly join the Lake Lucille Association's president Bill Terribile in leaving no stone unturned in bringing this developer to justice. We are dealing with people who just don't give a damn about anything but their own profit margin. Numerous violations of stop work orders has damaged a major waterway that traverses through New City, dumping a mess of silt and sediment into Lake Lucille and potentially compromising our drinking water. Take a look at the photos in the story to see just how bad this all is, and count on a focus by myself and every civic organization I can think of on Joy Builders, so they can be appropriately scrutinized the next time they bring an application to a Planning Board. This will not be allowed to stand.
Mary October 09, 2012 at 10:10 PM
What a terrible shame it is that Mr. Herskowitz ignores stop work orders even after he is made aware of the damage his neglectful work is having on a neighboring lake!
Green Farmer October 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The Monsey buider is just acting as "business as usual", for the Town of Ramapo! As we all know, Ramapo does nothing to control developers, in fact joins in the lawlessness, witness the stadium which was started without proper permits. This total lack of regard for residents of Ramapo and for laws and regulations, that is seemingly encouraged by Mr. St. Lawrence's own difficulties with truth, honesty, and transparent town government, is now [literally] spilling over to Clarkstown and the rest of Rockland County. In fact, he will probably attempt to bring his style of leadership to the entire county via the next county executive election. Mr. Day, I hope you plan a run for that position. The county cannot afford to have Ramapo style government brought to the county level.
michael October 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Doesn't surprise me at all. When it comes to dealing with these type of people they couldn't care less what happens. What I. Don't understand is if there was a stop work order issued and this idiot has been given notice to control the flow of silt running into the nearby water and he hasnt acted on these violation why hasn't there been any legal action done. 2 weeks to meet up with idiot to explain what he has to do don't you think the damage will be far worse. He should be fined full amount everyday from date issue was noticed, shut this operation down for good. DEC should patrol the area to prevent any further work done.
Jonathan Levine October 10, 2012 at 06:00 PM
The two most recent photos just posted show how muddy Crum Creek became well below the Lake and East of North Little Tor Road between Phillips Hill Rd. and Alton Court in New City. The volume of water in the creek as well as the silt has increased exponentially.
pamela hudson October 10, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Any profits this builder might get should be immediately earmarked for the clean up, as well as any fines, which should go to that purpose and not to agency coffers. Any difference should be made up when we residents sue the pants off the builder with a class action suit...just dreaming I guess. These criminals always get away with it. I live on Lake Lucille and cannot begin to express my disgust with all of this.

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