Tyler Ohle is going after failed septic systems around the lake in his job as the new Canandaigua Lake Watershed Inspector

There’s a new watershed inspector in town. With longtime Canandaigua Lake Watershed Inspector George Barden retiring in August, Tyler Ohle came on board in June to work with Barden during the transition.

It’s an important job, as the health of the lake depends on finding and replacing failed septic systems — a major source of pollution.

Ohle, who grew up around Conesus Lake and lives in Livonia, Livingston County, is a 2016 graduate of SUNY Brockport, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, wetland ecology. His previous jobs included survey work for an archeological firm and technical and field work for wetland restoration at Braddock Bay on Lake Ontario. At work and at play, Ohle is happiest outdoors and around the lakes. In his spare time he enjoys hunting, fishing and home brewing.

At Monday’s groundbreaking for the new green technology sewer system in Naples, Ohle was there for the celebration with others promoting watershed health. The sewer system, a first for Naples, will prevent pollutants from failing septic systems in the village from leaking into the watershed. As watershed inspector, Ohle is responsible for preventing contamination and pollution of the public water supply. Canandaigua Lake is a drinking water source for 70,000 people.

The inspector’s work consists of routine patrols of the watershed area and inspections of rural water supply and sewage disposal systems and campsites within the watershed. It also entails investigating violations of rules and regulations for the protection of the public water supply, according to the job description.

Ohle said he is discovering failed septic systems around the lake that would not have been otherwise found if not for rules requiring routine inspections. He showed a photo on his phone taken a few days ago of a cesspool just 78 feet from the water’s edge at a property on the west side of Canandaigua Lake. The cesspit was found during an inspection required every five years. State funds are available to help property owners pay for replacing failed systems, up to a certain amount.

An updated Canandaigua Lake Watershed Management Plan completed a few years ago outlines strategies municipalities can use to strengthen rules and regulations for onsite wastewater systems. The plan recommends that towns require septic systems within 200 feet of the lake be inspected every five years; and inspections for deed transfers and certain structural changes such as teardowns, rebuilds or expansions of the home or business using the system, among other points.

The Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District recently updated its website with information and features related to septic system inspections. You can now put in a property address and it will tell you which watershed the property is in and which inspector you need to call. Visit www.ontswcd.com