A recent report links high salinity in Seneca Lake, the largest of New York State’s Finger Lakes, to the storage of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in nearby salt caverns. The lake, which holds 4.2 trillion gallons of water, has for decades seen levels of salt concentrations greater than those regulated by the state for sensitive populations such as infants and those on low-salt diets. The highest concentration, in the village of Waterloo, has concentrations nearly four times the state limit.
While James Bromka, chief of Waterloo’s water treatment plant, assures that the water is safe to drink for most, he acknowledges that another spike could be significant for special populations. The treatment plant is considering adding a desalinization process to the water treatment plant, but such an addition is costly - two million dollars that would be passed along to users.
The report cites that the first major spikes of chloride in the 1960’s coincide with the first instance of LPG storage in the salt caverns. It also alleges that transfers of LPG into and out of the cave in the following years caused significant pressure changes which decreased the structural integrity of the caverns and ultimately led to the discharge of high chlorine groundwater into the bottom of the lake.
However, local experts suggest that there are other possible causes. An increase in salt mining operations, road deicing chemicals, and legal chloride dumping are all likely to have contributed to the lake’s salinity - how significantly is still under debate.
Read the full report here!
Source: DC Bureau