A while ago I wrote about our latest grant – our Coastal Community Grant – bringing together all the towns in the Ogunquit River watershed to better understand and deal with bacterial problems in the watershed areas of these towns – York, Ogunquit, Wells, and South Berwick.
But what about our original grant that has been identifying sources of bacterial problems in Ogunquit? The water testing is done in dry and wet conditions. When we had little rain in the summer there were few problems; however, in wet weather, probably due to storm water runoff in the two major storms, we experienced high bacteria levels on the river side beach.
What has this water testing under the grant discovered? This is the grant that discovered the problems traced to the main beach showers with their drainage ultimately into the outfall pipe by the river side beach, favored by children and adults alike for its warmer river water.
This led, as you probably know, to entirely new showers with their outflow into the sewer system – this is especially helpful since parents of small children still wearing diapers have often left the old diapers in and around these showers.
FP Environmental has traced bacterial problems in the Levitt steam and care has been taken to find the source or sources of these. Some of these bacteria have been found in the Downhill Defenders within the Windward neighborhood; genetic testing has shown these bacterial problems due to dogs, and our town crew has several times witnessed lawn care workers shoveling dog feces from lawns into this drainage system.
This spring and summer, FP Environmental staff along with members of the Conservation Commission plan to take water samples beginning where the Ogunquit River crosses Route 1 and try and bracket those problem bacteria areas in the river and then address them.
To be sure there have been multiple problems; most have been successfully addressed by the town. We hope by the end of this year, to have solved any remaining bacterial contamination.