JAY — A survey of watersheds for two ponds that supply drinking water to Livermore Falls and Jay is meant to recognize potential problems and fix them, according to information at a public hearing October 23.
“This is not to catch people doing something wrong,” said Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon adviser Rob Taylor, whose students have monitored the quality of Parker Pond in Jay and Moose Hill Pond in Livermore Falls. “We’re looking to identify potential problems and determine corrective actions. This is about educating the public.”
The two ponds provide drinking water for the Livermore Falls Water District, which sells water to the Jay Village Water District.
Speaking at Spruce Mountain Middle School, Taylor said the greatest threat to the ponds is runoff, which can carry phosphorus and other types of nonpoint source pollution into the ponds.
The largest source of phosphorus comes from soil erosion. The naturally occurring element is found in septic waste, manure and pet waste, and fertilizers. Increased phosphorus creates excessive algae growth leading to decreased water clarity, oxygen depletion and algae blooms in the water.
Watersheds that contain developed lands have more vegetation removed, more impervious surfaces and more runoff. There is five to 10 times the amount of phosphorus found in a developed watershed than a forested one.
Parker Pond covers 103 acres and its mostly forested watershed extends to Macomber Hill Road.
Spring-fed Moose Hill Pond is 95 acres and has a much smaller watershed than Parker Pond.
Taylor said Moose Hill Pond is the clearer of the two but there was an algal bloom there in 2010.
“The bloom required daily filter cleanings for two weeks straight, then changing twice a week,” Livermore Falls Water District Manager Scott Greenleaf said. “It started in September. A quick freeze and black ice kept the algae activated until mid-January.
“It’s not just a labor thing. There was increased testing too … That’s why the survey is important,” he said.
Taylor said a steering committee for the survey will meet once a month starting in December, and the survey will take place in June 2019.