Last week I received a request from my boss to check out the Montebello Lake. That it was reported that someone was seen dumping petroleum and chlorine into the lake. My first question was – “Did the person who spotted this call the police?” It is a crime to tamper with the water supply, let alone dump toxic chemicals into a lake on our property. This lake is no longer part of the city water supply system, other than being a settling basin for what goes on in the filtration plant. It is a by-product of filtration, waiting to settle out before flowing into Herring Run. Most people, even the neighbors don’t know this. They still believe the lake is drinking water. It hasn’t been drinking water since 1915.
I go and check out the lake but didn’t find anything amiss. (Not only do people NOT call the police, but after 35 years of being here, I learn to take those calls for lake problems with a grain of salt. Most are not true and unsubstantiated, but they do need to be checked out)
This is the view across the lake towards the gate house. The brown you see in the water is sludge build-up. This lake was dredged in 2005-2007, but the contractors only did a small portion of the smaller lake where most plant sludge is collected before flowing to this lake. That lake will soon be dredged. (It should be every 3-5 years, with the big lake not needing to be done for 30 years)
The ducks, turtles, fish and other wildlife all seem to be fine. No effects from a toxic dump here. I also did not see any dead growth on the grass which would indicate dumping.
This is one of the original drawings from 1875 showing the lake being built over Tiffany Run, which dumps into Herring Run. The run was diverted into a tunnel from the gate house, lower left of lake then heads along, marked as drain conduit to Herring Run.
This is the original 1880s Tiffany Run drain. It has been relined a couple times since being built.
Channel from Tiffany drain to Herring Run. This is probably the best part of my job, other than historical research – getting to roam around in the woods. All 300 acres.