11/13/13 2:16pm

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | A sign posted last month by the town at Fresh Pond.

New tests on Fresh Pond have found it to have a “clean bill of health,” according to Supervisor Jim Dougherty.

This comes a month after the town shut the pond to swimming because tests conducted by John Hallman — chairman of the town’s Water Advisory Committee and owner of a private water testing company — found it to be polluted with high levels of phosphorus and fecal coliforms, Mr. Hallman said.

Coliforms are a form of bacteria that can be found in the feces of warm-blooded animals. Also found were high levels of another bacteria called enterococci.

The high levels of contaminants discovered in Fresh Pond placed it on New York State’s “impaired waters” list, which means the pond is too polluted to meet the water quality standards set by the state.

Those test results were taken by Mr. Hallman on September 11. But tests conducted October 23 found there was “conceivably less enterococci,” Mr. Hallman said. “There was still some fecal coliforms but a lot less than it was,” he added.

One explanation for the sea change in results is the lack of significant rain over the last month, Mr. Hallman said, with little runoff going into the pond. “We haven’t had any surface wash back into the pond,” he added.

In the Town’s Watershed Management Plan (WMP), a scientific study of the town’s surface water bodies, which relied on earlier testing, the recommendations for mitigating pollution in the pond were vegetative buffers to prevent storm water runoff, outreach to homeowners informing them how they can reduce phosphorus entering the pond and a waterfowl management plan to control animal feces.

Asked Monday, about the new test results finding lower levels of contaminants, Carrie O’Farrell, a partner with Melville’s Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, the environmental engineering company that conducted the WMP, said she couldn’t comment on the new test, except to say that the plan called for periodic testing of Fresh Pond.

11/13/13 2:16pm

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | A sign posted last month by the town at Fresh Pond.

New tests on Fresh Pond have found it to have a “clean bill of health,” according to Supervisor Jim Dougherty.

This comes a month after the town shut the pond to swimming because tests conducted by John Hallman — chairman of the town’s Water Advisory Committee and owner of a private water testing company — found it to be polluted with high levels of phosphorus and fecal coliforms, Mr. Hallman said.

Coliforms are a form of bacteria that can be found in the feces of warm-blooded animals. Also found were high levels of another bacteria called enterococci.

The high levels of contaminants discovered in Fresh Pond placed it on New York State’s “impaired waters” list, which means the pond is too polluted to meet the water quality standards set by the state.

Those test results were taken by Mr. Hallman on September 11. But tests conducted October 23 found there was “conceivably less enterococci,” Mr. Hallman said. “There was still some fecal coliforms but a lot less than it was,” he added.

One explanation for the sea change in results is the lack of significant rain over the last month, Mr. Hallman said, with little runoff going into the pond. “We haven’t had any surface wash back into the pond,” he added.

In the Town’s Watershed Management Plan (WMP), a scientific study of the town’s surface water bodies, which relied on earlier testing, the recommendations for mitigating pollution in the pond were vegetative buffers to prevent storm water runoff, outreach to homeowners informing them how they can reduce phosphorus entering the pond and a waterfowl management plan to control animal feces.

Asked Monday, about the new test results finding lower levels of contaminants, Carrie O’Farrell, a partner with Melville’s Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, the environmental engineering company that conducted the WMP, said she couldn’t comment on the new test, except to say that the plan called for periodic testing of Fresh Pond.

09/23/13 9:24am

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Environmental scientist Lara Urbat, taking a question from the audience at Friday’s Town Board Meeting. A new study classifies Fresh Pond as “impaired.”

Fresh Pond has been found to have high levels of phosphorus requiring it to be labeled “impaired waters” by New York State.

This had come as news when Shelter Island’s Watershed Management Plan (WMP), a scientific study of the town’s surface water bodies — bays, creeks, harbors and ponds — was presented to the Town Board Friday.

Resident Emory Breiner asked Lara Urbat, an environmental scientist with Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, the environmental engineering company that conducted the study, to repeat that Fresh Pond was an impaired water body and Ms. Urbat confirmed it.

Mr. Breiner then directed a question to Town Attorney Laury Dowd, who is a member of the MS4 Committee, which stands for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. “Laury, when we go to MS4 meetings we had found we had no impaired water bodies,” Mr. Briener said, “and had to just watch Fresh Pond.”

“I had not realized it had been added to the impaired list,” Ms. Dowd said.

Ms. Urbat said Fresh Pond had been added to the list “recently,” but didn’t “remember the exact time frame.”

Walter Richards, a member of the Water Advisory Council, asked if high levels of phosphorus in the pond was something new or “has it been there forever?”

Ms. Urbat said there was not enough data to tell, but her “best guess is it has been occurring over a period of years because the levels are so high.”

Earlier she had said the phosphorus might have found its way into the pond from dishwasher or laundry soap. “That was prior until a couple of years ago when all soaps contained phosphorus,” Ms. Urbat said.

Asked what the consequences of the high levels of phosphorus would be, Ms. Urbat said harmful algal blooms could occur.

Councilman Paul Shepherd asked if blue-green algae could be occurring and Ms. Urbat said it was possible.

Human exposure to blue algae results in the symptoms of poisoning, including diarrhea, vomiting and high fever.

Funded by New York State to conform to the Federal Clean Water Act, the goal of mandated watershed management plans is to improve surface water in the state’s municipalities.

The Town Board has scheduled a public hearing on the Watershed Management Plan for Tuesday at 1 p.m.

09/23/13 9:24am

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Environmental scientist Lara Urbat, taking a question from the audience at Friday’s Town Board Meeting. A new study classifies Fresh Pond as “impaired.”

Fresh Pond has been found to have high levels of phosphorus requiring it to be labeled “impaired waters” by New York State.

This had come as news when Shelter Island’s Watershed Management Plan (WMP), a scientific study of the town’s surface water bodies — bays, creeks, harbors and ponds — was presented to the Town Board Friday.

Resident Emory Breiner asked Lara Urbat, an environmental scientist with Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, the environmental engineering company that conducted the study, to repeat that Fresh Pond was an impaired water body and Ms. Urbat confirmed it.

Mr. Breiner then directed a question to Town Attorney Laury Dowd, who is a member of the MS4 Committee, which stands for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. “Laury, when we go to MS4 meetings we had found we had no impaired water bodies,” Mr. Briener said, “and had to just watch Fresh Pond.”

“I had not realized it had been added to the impaired list,” Ms. Dowd said.

Ms. Urbat said Fresh Pond had been added to the list “recently,” but didn’t “remember the exact time frame.”

Walter Richards, a member of the Water Advisory Council, asked if high levels of phosphorus in the pond was something new or “has it been there forever?”

Ms. Urbat said there was not enough data to tell, but her “best guess is it has been occurring over a period of years because the levels are so high.”

Earlier she had said the phosphorus might have found its way into the pond from dishwasher or laundry soap. “That was prior until a couple of years ago when all soaps contained phosphorus,” Ms. Urbat said.

Asked what the consequences of the high levels of phosphorus would be, Ms. Urbat said harmful algal blooms could occur.

Councilman Paul Shepherd asked if blue-green algae could be occurring and Ms. Urbat said it was possible.

Human exposure to blue algae results in the symptoms of poisoning, including diarrhea, vomiting and high fever.

Funded by New York State to conform to the Federal Clean Water Act, the goal of mandated watershed management plans is to improve surface water in the state’s municipalities.

The Town Board has scheduled a public hearing on the Watershed Management Plan for Tuesday at 1 p.m.

04/24/13 10:26am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Town Board met in work session Tuesday.

The Town Board continued to look at its Watershed Management Plan at it’s work session Tuesday. The board has methodically been revising the plan at the last several work sessions making recommendations to improving conditions. With a plan in place and recommendations made, the funding process to mitigate or improve problem areas can begin.

In a recommendation for a pet waste law, Councilman Peter Reich suggested it be written for town property only. Councilwoman Chris Lewis said education was important on the issue and recommendations should be in the town handbook. On sanitation systems, education again was encouraged by Councilman Paul Shepherd so residents can understand how to keep septic systems properly functioning. Supervisor Jim Dougherty noted that Southampton had recently passed a law providing a “modest” financial incentive for building new septic systems. On addressing storm water runoff for marinas and fueling stations, Mr. Reich noted that most of the regulations were covered by Suffolk county. “Let’s not reinvent the wheel here,” he said.

In other business:

• Zach Vella’s ambitious plan to expand and improve Herrmann’s Castle was on the agenda again. Kieran Pape Murphree, a Sag Harbor Attorney for Mr. Vella, had written a letter that agreed with most changes the board had requested, which has scaled down the project considerably. The board had some additional requests that Ms. Murphree said she would convey to the owner. A new site plan application will be filed by Mr. Vella.

• Mr. Reich reported on a plan that was agreed to by the board to purchase and install a new TV system for the board’s meeting room. It will include a 70-inch monitor that will have wireless connection for all Apple devices and will be a significant upgrade to the present system. The total cost of the system will be somewhere in the range of about $2,200 and board members agreed there were funds in the budget to cover the cost.

• Mr. Brown said the Emergency Medical Services Committee had reported  there had been 70 calls over the past three months and four new trainees have come on board.

• Mr. Brown reported that he and Mr. Dougherty had met recently with town accountants Cullen & Danowski, and had discussed streamlining processes. Mr. Brown said the town would be getting summary reports monthly that will now give percentages of how much departments have spent, plus detailed reports that used to come in annually will now be reviewed quarterly.