Last week we began talking about the Ogunquit Coastal Community Grant that is bringing together all of the towns in the river watershed; let’s take a look at some of the other aspects of this grant.

Part of this grant will expand the current septic and sewer system database to include the entire Ogunquit River watershed in the Towns of Wells, South Berwick, and York. The database will document the status, location, and maintenance history of all septic systems in the watershed, giving a more complete picture of the state of septic systems across the watershed towns.

 In conjunction with this goal, this grant will create a ranking system of properties according to risk of pollution to the watershed’s streams, estuaries, and beaches. This would include a list of properties in order of highest to lowest priority for ensuring that septic systems are maintained and functioning properly.

These rankings will be based on soil and environmental risk factors related to the sensitivity of septic failure in various areas of the watershed. Higher risk factors indicate a greater risk to health and safety if a septic system should fail, because bacteria and algae-causing nutrients will have a more direct route to swimming areas.

Water sampling along the Ogunquit River upstream of Route 1 will be conducted both in dry and wet conditions to further trace the source of any bacterial contamination.

What I am hoping will come out of this project, would be more meetings of those towns not just in the Ogunquit River Watershed, but all of the towns that either front on Wells Bay or drain into Wells Bay, so that together we can begin to ensure clean swimming water for all of our towns from Kittery to Kennebunkport.

We should seize this opportunity to make sure this happens.