Why the Grant for a Non-point Source Pollution Project?

Many may think the lake is in great shape but those who have enjoyed it’s waters for 20, 30 or more years tell a different story. “You could see the bottom clearly!” and less weeds!

Today’s Telegram and Gazette ran an article about new EPA regulations and the Route 20 sewage treatment plant. “Environmental officials have attributed low oxygen levels in the bay (Narragansett Bay in Rhodes Island) to the Blackstone River, and in part to the wastewater treatment facility and to companies that border the river,” the article reports. There is some debate whether or not the treatment plant is really to blame. The concern is the “release of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients which increase algae and other plant life that, when the die, reduce oxygen in the water.”

What does this have to do with Manchaug Pond, you ask? Well, let me quote a description from our grant project: “The Pond (Manchaug) is 303d listed impaired by organic enrichment, low dissolved oxygen, and noxious aquatic plants and exotic species. Manchaug Pond directly feeds the Mumford River, which leads to the Blackstone River, both rivers are also 303d waterbodies.” Now clearly the Route 20 facility has nothing to do with us, but our lake is suffering similar problems and feeds both the Blackstone and the Bay. The grant project directly targets the primary causes of water quality problems in the pond. The first component of the project identifies seven prioritized sites, 5 in Sutton and 2 in Douglas, where roadway runoff will be controlled and filtered. This will reduce nutrients, sediments and erosion.

Three other components of the project will use education as a means of reducing and or eliminating other nonpoint pollution stemming from homeowner practices and horsekeeping activies.

A spokesman for the EPA was quoted in the Telegram as saying of the Blackstone and the Bay, “It’s a less healthy ecosystem. It’s not able to sustain the eco-life and fish and water systems that you would want to see.”

The MPA continues to fulfill its mission statement: “To promote the welfare and correct use of Manchaug Pond and the contiguous area.”