Governor Baker Petition
PETITION TO GOVERNOR BAKER TO HELP IMPROVE THE WATER QUALITY OF MONPONSETT POND. Sponsored by the Monponsett Watershed Association (MWA)
On Monday, August 24th, MassDEP collected water samples from West Monponsett Pond at 4th Ave Beach and the state boat ramp in Halifax and Ocean Ave Beach in Hanson. MassDEP reported cyanobacteria levels of 311,000 cells/ml, 367,000 cells/ml, and 312,000 cells/ml, respectively, all of which are above the MDPH guideline level of 70,000 cells/ml.
On Tuesday, August 25th, MDPH collected water samples from West Monponsett Pond at 4th Ave Beach in Halifax. Laboratory analysis showed cyanobacteria levels of 135,000 cells/ml, above the MDPH guideline level of 70,000 cells/ml. Microcystin toxin was not detected.
MDPH recommends that the current advisory remain in place. MDPH sampling will occur at the waterbody again on September 1st.
We the undersigned respectfully request that you use the power and authority of your office to help improve the water quality in Monponsett Pond in the Towns of Halifax and Hanson. As this aerial photograph and the water test results from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) show, the water quality of West Monponsett Pond is terrible. The Department of Public Health regularly issues public health advisories for the Pond warning people not to swim, boat or fish in the Pond. DPH even warns pet owners not to let their dogs drink the water.
Algae in freshwater is a multifaceted problem, but for Monponsett Pond one issue cries out for resolution: the water management practices of the City of Brockton. The natural flow of water in the Pond is east (blue water in the photo) to west (green water). West Monponsett Pond flows out Stump Brook to the Stump Brook Dam which is controlled by the City of Brockton. Brockton is allowed by law to divert water from Monponsett Pond October through May. When the diversion occurs the gates in the Dam are closed and the natural flow is reversed.
In the summer months Brockton has refused to open all the gates in the Stump Brook Dam: only the small fish ladder gate is left open, the larger sluice gate is closed. Consequently there is only a minimal flow out of West Monponsett Pond: the water stagnates, heats up and the algae blooms reaching toxic levels. In October Brockton can start diverting, thereby pulling toxic West Monponsett Pond water into the relatively clean East Monponsett Pond and on to the Silver Lake reservoir in Kingston.
The Monponsett Watershed Association (MWA), the Towns of Halifax and Hanson, and the local legislative delegation have asked Brockton to open the gates in the Dam. Brockton refuses and gives no reason for their refusal. The Central Plymouth County Water District Commission ordered Brockton on June 10, 2015 to open the gates in the Dam. Brockton refused claiming that the Commission did not have the legal authority to order Brockton to take such action.
In light of Brockton’s intransigence the MWA, Halifax, Hanson and local legislators have asked the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to intervene. Despite the DEP’s authority under general and special law in these matters, the DEP has refused to intervene.
Therefore, we turn to you for help. We have two specific requests.
- When Brockton is not diverting water the gates in the Stump Brook Dam should be left fully open to provide natural flow and a beneficial flushing effect on West Monponsett Pond.
- When the Department of Public Health has issued a public health advisory for Monponsett Pond, Brockton should be prohibited from diverting water from the Pond thereby preventing the spread of the public health problem.
We thank you for considering our requests and we look forward to working with your office to help improve the water quality in Monponsett Pond.