A Project to Evaluate the Efficacy of a Woodchip Bioreactor for Denitrification of Tertiary Effluent from the Bolton Wastewater Treatment Plant (Lake George, Warren Country, New York)


February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2021


Recent studies demonstrate that outdated wastewater treatment plants in the village of Lake George and the town of Bolton in upstate New York have been discharging water with an excess of environmentally damaging nitrate-nitrogen and ammonia-nitrogen. In response, researchers will explore the application and efficacy of a woodchip bioreactor, installed one year ago in the town of Bolton, in combating excess levels of these chemicals discharged from treatment plants. Excess nitrate-nitrogen and ammonia-nitrogen harms local biodiversity, ecology, and water quality and spans beyond the Lake George drainage basin into the Lake Champlain drainage basin.

Researchers will study the chemical makeup of wastewater discharged from the woodchip bioreactor and compare it to the wastewater not “treated” by the bioreactor as well as past water chemistry records from “treated” wastewater. The project will include bi-weekly sampling of measures such as pH, temperature, and nitrate-nitrogen/ammonia-nitrogen levels from sampling sites in tributaries that flow into Lake George. The project includes outreach to educate communities, municipalities, and agencies across the drainage basins through field trips to the demonstration bioreactor site.


Jim Sutherland
Independent Consultant, The Fund for Lake George
jwsinack [at] comcast.net

Kathleen Suozzo
Bolton Landing, NY

Chris Nativsky
Lake George Waterkeeper