Legislators Support Towns’ Efforts to Bring BlueWave Solar into Compliance

Posted March 1, 2024

December 11th a failed infiltration basin on the BlueWave Solar’s 45 Oak St Douglas construction site overwhelmed erosion barriers dumping sediment and sediment-laden water down the wooded hillside abutter’s property some 1,300 feet through the woods to the wetland, flooded Holt Road, Sutton and turned the southeast cove of Manchaug Pond brown with sediment from causeway to dam and raised the lake waterlevel some 4 feet with the second rain event that week. Soon Stevens Pond was fully impacted with brown flow as well as the greater Mumford River into the village. Since that event and with numerous subsequent ones, the Manchaug Pond Foundation has been informing local and state decision-makers and the community advocating for an end to the off-site runoff and pumping discharge and for the protection of Manchaug Pond and the watershed from future impacts.

BlueWave Solar Construction Site, 45 Oak St, Douglas with Manchaug Pond in distance. 2024, February 24. Photo courtesy of High Octane Performance

As part of this effort, a meeting with Massachusetts Senator Ryan Fattman was held which resulted in both the Senator and Representative Joseph McKenna sending a letter of support for the work of the Douglas and Sutton Conservation Agent and Conservation Commissions in their effort “mitigating runoff pollution at the 30-acre” site and encouraging both towns’ Select Boards to continue “to support the effort to enforce the Wetlands Protection Act in their local bylaws as it relates to this issue.”

The letter points out that “clear-cutting has negatively impacted both private and recreational property in the two towns.  Homeowners are faced with washed-out driveways, flooded yards, and property erosion.  There is an alarming freshwater environmental concern in areas such as Manchaug Pond… Had this incident occurred mid-summer, swimming would have been restricted in at least the lower area of the pond” and recreational spaces like the campgrounds and the YMCA day camp at risk.

Further, the legislators noted “these present issues are perhaps most frustrating given the very recent track record of a similar project in Douglas by the same company with similar negative community and natural resources impacts… in the wake of this incident at Wallum Lake resulting in a similar environmental impact, BlueWave has clearly not taken thoughtful steps to alter their protection protocols moving forward.”

With the fines imposed for damages, Senator Fattman and Rep McKenna “are looking to file legislation to increase the current fine allowances, which have not been adjusted in several decades. Currently, Douglas has one Enforcement Order with a $200 fine/day while Sutton’s is at $300 fine/day.  Fines could be imposed for each stormwater discharge/run-off event and, as Massachusetts General Law Ch 40 Section 21D allows, “the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) could expand the fees and penalties for major corporations that may see these fines as the ‘cost of doing business’.”


For more information on the project, visit the Oak St Project website page under Events & News for links, photos, reports, etc and to read the legislators’ letter in its entirety, click the link 2.21.24 Douglas & Sutton BOS Letter of Support.

The Manchaug Pond Foundation thanks Senator Fattman and Representative McKenna for their support and serving as a resource on this important issue.  Also appreciation is extended to the community leaders who give of their time in finding workable solutions and to the dedicated Manchaug Pond Foundation members and volunteers who are attending each meeting, providing photos and testimony to the town and on Facebook documenting the pollution and impacts.

Next meeting is Monday, March 4, Douglas Conservation Commission at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, March 6, Sutton Conservation Commission at 6:30 p.m. Please plan to attend! We are the voice of Manchaug Pond!


Manchaug Pond Foundation Inc. is an environmental conservation 501(c)(3) public charity of volunteers dedicated to the welfare and correct use of Manchaug Pond and its watershed. In advocacy, education, and action, we work together on issues and needs including water quality, dam and waterlevel, watershed conservation, priority habitat for endangered species, safe boating and public access.

All are welcome to volunteer, join as a member/friend, or donate to a cause.  Your contribution and membership donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Federal Tax ID # 32-0303891