Santuit Pond Algae Contamination Concerns Continue

MASHPEE – Mashpee selectmen met with community leaders and residents last week to review the ongoing issue with Santuit Pond and its algae contamination.

Cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, was recently discovered in the pond’s green water. The algae is dangerous to people and dogs who make contact with or drink the water contaminated by it.

Department of Natural Resources Director Richard York said high levels of phosphorus have helped fertilize the algae, and around 78 percent of the phosphorus comes from built-up sediment.

“So now, the pond itself–the bottom mud–is the biggest source of phosphorus,” York said.

From here, York outlined several options. He said that controlling the inputs of septic systems and cranberry bogs, along with taking care of the bottom mud, could be beneficial to the overall goal of lowering the algae levels.

“If you start doing things like sewering to remove the septic load, that will gets you pretty close,” he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is currently looking into the idea of dredging the bottom of the pond. Green said that dredging would kick the issue down the road by 30 years before arising again, if sewering were to not take place.

Efforts to relieve issue need to be proposed at town meeting in May to ensure funding. Town staff members were asked to create a plan of action by next month.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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