Saturday, November 14, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Advocates of removing the Ben Smith Dam on the Assabet River in Maynard note two primary problems with the Assabet River: (1) the discharge problem wherein wastewater treatment plants upstream of Stow discharge wastewater including phosphorus into the Assabet River which causes the growth of algae and duck weed and (2) the impoundment problem wherein the phosphorous settles in the slow moving water behind the Ben Smith Dam and continues to cause the growth of algae and duck weed.

Remove the dam, these advocates assert, and the impoundment problem goes away.

The truth is, the impoundment problem pales in comparison to the discharge problem caused by wastewater treatment plants upstream from Stow discharging phosphorus into the river. Removing the dam has nothing to do with the discharge problem. But, if the discharge problem were eliminated, the impoundment problem would be corrected as well.

Many communities including several on the Assabet River, others in Massachusetts, and across the nation do not discharge wastewater into rivers. Numerous technologies exist for wastewater treatment other than discharging wastewater into our nation’s rivers. Restoring the Assabet River to its “natural” state is a fiction so long as wastewater treatment plants continue to discharge wastewater into our river.

We, the home and property owners on the Assabet River who look at and interact with the river every day by kayaking, boating, fishing, hunting, and the like urge our local, state, and federal officials to seriously consider the real impact of removing the Ben Smith Dam. We would much rather deal with the duck weed and algae in August of each year than an unsightly one foot deep impassable narrow stream, the loss of wetlands, and our way of life.

Leave the dam alone.


Letters like this need to be read by the people making these decisions.

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