HARVARD — The Bare Hill Pond Watershed Management Committee is partnering once again with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to help keep Bare Hill Pond clean.
Bare Hill Pond remains on the state’s list of critically endangered water bodies for its invasive weeds and the excess phosphorus that feeds the growth of vegetation.
The committee has requested funds from the Harvard Community Preservation Committee to control the stormwater that occasionally pollutes the pond. The CPC decides which organizations will receive state and town funds from the Community Preservation Act pool, which is made up of town funds combined with state funds for the purpose of protecting open space, historic preservation and affordable housing.
The committee is requesting funds totaling $79,000 to work with the MDEP in a project to properly collect and treat the stormwater in the most critical area of the pond watershed. According to the committee, “massive amounts of raw stormwater pour into the pond.”
Stormwater includes eroded sentiment from the steep areas around the town center, but also all the road salt and automobile seepage from the heavily used parking areas and some of the busiest roads in town. It also brings into the pond the effluents from leaking septic systems along these same roads. The committee has called this contamination the “major source of non-point-source contamination entering Bare Hill Pond,” and said in its application that it “needs to be controlled before the committee can make any progress in improving the in-pond water quality.”
The committee has a cash need of $79,000 to pay some contractor fees not covered by the grant. They are requesting CPA funds to cover this need. The town will be able to leverage the matching contribution from the state to keep the overall additional cost to the taxpayers at $40,000 for a $999,808 project.
The committee has engaged the design firm of Horsley Witten, recognized experts in the field of stormwater management, to design a comprehensive solution to the problem. The firm has already completed a preliminary design that was the basis of the watershed’s application to a grant program administrated by the DEP. This is the same grant program that subsidized the design and construction of the deep drawdown pumping system for Bare Hill Pond three years ago.
Considering the large scale of the project, along with its expense, the committee is taking the DEP’s suggestion to break the total funding request into two successive yearly applications. The committee received notice last month that their grant application has been recommended for full funding of the first phase.
Since the project is a 60 percent match program, the town will have to provide the remaining 40 percent of the total project cost through a combination of reimbursable volunteer labor and real dollar expenditures.
The CPC will hear the Watershed Committee’s presentation at its next meeting, on Oct. 23.