Monday, December 14, 2009

Letter to the Editor II

As abutters to the Ben Smith Impoundment, the proposal to remove the Historic Ben Smith Dam will have a direct impact on our Family, our Home, our Community and the History that reminds us of who we are, and how and why we happen to be here in Maynard and Stow.

Our Family has lived alongside the Assabet River for multiple generations as have many of our neighbors. We have seen great floods. We have seen the river run multi-colored from dyes that were dumped directly into the water. We have seen duckweed so thick you could walk on it. We have seen this river used as a dump site for household waste, tires, cars etc. We have made great strides over the years to clean up the river. However, the Assabet River's pollution problems are still here, just not as obviously as before. But should we throw out the baby with the bath water?

We must make sure that the Army Corps of Engineers, and the DEP for that matter are not allowed to come into our towns and mandate the loss of water for recreation, agriculture and fire protection along with the loss of more than 100 acres of wetlands, and a multi-year disturbance of hundreds more acres. A plan that requires they remove 42,000 truck loads of sediment, that can not be disposed of anywhere in New England? We will loose the recreational value of the area for most if not all of the year. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing will be greatly impacted if not outright lost. The Historic Mill Complex and its associated structures, like the dam and the impoundment, are resources that must be protected. This proposal and all it entails, only allows WWTFs to continue to pollute the Assabet River. Dam removal only relocates the problem down stream. We must attack this problem at the source. It seems clear that the best solution for all involved is tighter winter limits on phosphorous discharge!

The recommendation to remove the Ben Smith Dam must be stricken from the US Army Corps of Engineers "Assabet River, Massachusetts Sediment and Dam Removal Feasibility Study". The data in the report does not support the conclusion. In addition this proposal does not meet the TMDL Phase II requirement of a 90 percent reduction in sediment phosphorus flux, and is repugnant to the myriad concerns acknowledged in the report.

This report and its executive summary must be altered to recommend that, based on the CDM modeling results, phosphorous discharge levels of no greater than 0.1mg/l should be mandated for any and all discharges into the Assabet River with no exceptions.

The deadline for comments is Monday Dec 21st.

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