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Funding efforts to cleanup Lake Neatahwanta

For three decades, Lake Neatahwanta has been known to have dangerous levels of toxic blue-green algae, along with thousands of tons of sludge polluting the water. Town officials say the water is so dangerous, a dog died swimming in the lake this summer.
Granby (WSYR-TV) -- For three decades, Lake Neatahwanta has been known to have dangerous levels of toxic blue-green algae, along with thousands of tons of sludge polluting the water. Town officials say the water is so dangerous, a dog died swimming in the lake this summer.

The town of Granby isn’t waiting for government funding to clean up the lake.

Jim Farfaglia remembers riding his bike with his brother to the lake, looking down from a boat and being able to see 20 feet down through the clear water.

“For all those hot summer days, Lake Neatahwanta was the place to go swimming,” Farfaglia said.

But for decades now, it's been a much different place.

“Since then, enough sludge has come in that if you could stand on top of the sludge in the lake it's probably eight feet deep at this time,” said Granby Town Supervisor Edward Willamson.

Williamson has made it his mission to get the lake cleaned. And while he hopes to secure State and Federal aid, he's not waiting around for their help.

He’s taken it upon himself to set up buckets at local businesses asking for donations.

Williamson knows he won’t make too much money. He says he collects – on average -- $100 every two weeks, but he believes a few coins can really help in making a big change.

“Anything's better than nothing. Everything helps. I don't care if it's a dollar, it helps…We're very happy that people think enough of the lake to contribute,” Williamson continued.

People like Richard Wheeler, who grew up in the area, believes in the power of change.

“It would be nice to bring the area back to what it used to be because the kids of today would enjoy it as much as I did,” Wheeler said.

The dredging project is expected to cost $4-million. So far, with contributions, corporate donations and a State Grant, the lake cleanup fund is only at $204,000.
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