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PO Box 370, East Brookfield, MA 01515
Lake Association
Quaboag Quacumquasit

QQLA: Quaboag/Quacumquasit Lake Association
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South Pond Alum Treatment Update

(Posted 6/30/19)

South Pond water quality is diminishing to the extent that its future recreational appeal is threatened. Increased algae growth is apparent and threatens public health as well as the environment that supports all aquatic life. One main driving force of increased
algae growth is accumulated nutrients, particularly phosphorous. South Pond has accumulated far more nutrients than what would be a healthy balanced budget.

QQLA initiated and funded the study by ESS (Same company who does our weed treatments) to measure the extent of the problem, recommend feasible solutions, estimate cost, and apply for grant money. The clear recommendation is an ALUM treatment — in which aluminum sulfate [alum] is used to remove excess phosphorous by binding it into an inactive ‘precipitated’ layer deep in the lake’s sediments.
Our goal for an effective alum treatment has been calculated at $342,000. This can be handled as a ‘cost sharing’ grant from EPA/DEP. This would be funded 60% from the State and 40% from local resources – that’s $136,800. Plus, we need to have a ‘host town’ take the lead and participate in grant administration.

QQLA enlisted the support of the Sturbridge Conservation Committee and SLAC [Sturbridge Lakes Advisory Committee] to recommend that the Town of Sturbridge serve as the requisite administrative sponsor and commit to the financial support necessary to apply for grant funds. We petitioned the Town of Sturbridge for this warrant article, and we were very fortunate in the June 3rd town meeting to get the commitment for town sponsorship and a $55,000 cost-sharing contribution PLEDGE. We have also enlisted the support of the towns of Brookfield and East Brookfield, and we are actively seeking their financial support, which we have every reason to expect. The QQLA is committing our own very substantial financial support to the project, in addition to undertaking fund-raising efforts from other generous donors, as well as from our faithful membership.

The QQLA has worked tirelessly for years to reduce phosphorous input into South Pond. The flow barrier has helped. QQLA has engaged the EPA and the Spencer Waste Water Treatment Plant (a major source of nutrients for many decades), resulting in major operational upgrade required by their renewed NPDES permit. Nutrient inflow into both North and South Ponds will be diminished. We are constantly working to maintain and improve the quality of our lake water. The Alum Treatment Project being the newest addition to our overall water quality strategy.

— Doug Vizard, President, QQLA

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