APODS at work on White Pond. - Courtesy photos
APODS at work on White Pond. - Courtesy photos

White Pond committee focuses on water quality

By Betsy Levinson

Quarry North, LLC got approval last week for a Planned Residential Development on 16.5 acres of a former granite mine near White Pond.

Plans show four single family homes and one duplex, each with a septic system. The Natural Resources Commission approved the septic plans.

But an interest group, the Friends of White Pond, worries that pollutants will seep into the pond water.

“The proximity of the development to White Pond suggests that run-off from the approved Title V septic systems will reach White Pond water, contributing to the growth of toxic algae blooms that have closed the pond in recent years,” wrote Josh Galper of the Friends in a letter last August.

“These septic systems remove harmful bacteria but do not remove nutrients, which move into the groundwater and eventually leach into White Pond,” he said recently.

“We hope the town of Concord considers enhanced septic technology to mitigate the release of harmful phosphorus and nitrogen into the pond.

Enter the A-POD

Through newly developed technology already installed, cyanobacteria and algae blooms are trapped by the device that floats on the surface.

According to a memo from the West Concord Advisory Committee, the inventor of the A-POD technology, Jonathan Higgins, got a patent in 2020 for his device, formally known as Floatable Apparatus for the Collection, Separation, Containment and Removal of Solids from a Water Body.

APODS at work on White Pond. - Courtesy photos
APODS at work on White Pond. – Courtesy photos

“The A-POD is the only commercial remediation treatment WPAC has found that adds no additives to pond water and shows immediate results at a reasonable price point,” the WPAC memo notes.

Though White Pond was shut down during the summer of 2021 due to algae blooms, actions taken by the town improved the water quality such that it was open for swimming this year.

The town responds

A new White Pond Task Force is in formation, according to Select Board member Mary Hartman, who has written a charge for the group and is taking green cards toward membership.

Hartman said the task force will rejuvenate the old White Pond Advisory Board that has been operating “since the 1970” said Hartman.

The town took ownership of the beach in recent years and is managed by the Recreation Department.

“Because of that, it was time to reset the role of the White Pond Advisory Committee,” Hartman said.

A key focus of the new task force will be to “engage more with the rest of the citizens and town committees outside the White Pond watershed,” Hartman said.

She said White Pond concerns intersect with the Natural Resources Commission, Trails Committee and other groups.

“We want to establish relationships with that close-knit neighborhood,” said Hartman.  The task force, including at least two members from outside the neighborhood, will develop relationships with the Trails and Natural Resources committees, for example.

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