MEP Recommendations by FOS to the Town of Oak Bluffs

Recommendation of the Joint Committee on Sengekontacket and Friends of Sengekontacket Inc. to the Towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown regarding the Mass Estuaries Program Report on Sengekontacket Pond

I. Oak Bluffs and Edgartown Boards of Selectmen should adopt the key findings of the MEP report on Sengekontacket

a. TMDL for nitrogen for a healthy water quality in Sengekontacket Pond is .35 mg. per day

b. On average all embayments of Sengekontacket Pond exceed this limit without consideration of the impacts of potential further build out in the various watersheds

c. Nitrogen levels in Major’s Cove and Trapps Pond embayments are significantly above the TMDL

d. Farm Neck and Ocean Heights embayments are periodically above the TMDL

e. Sengekontacket Pond could be restored to healthy water quality by removing 60% of the septic waste water in the Major’s Cove watershed

f. Sengekontacket Pond could be restored to healthy water quality by removing 100% of the septic waste water in the Trapps Pond watershed

g. Additional meaningful water quality improvements will result from fertilizer reduction in Farm Neck watershed

h. Additional meaningful water quality improvements will result from improved filtering of wastewater in Farm Neck and Ocean Heights watersheds

II. Oak Bluffs and Edgartown should direct a coordinated planning effort including Boards of Health, Shellfish Departments, Conservation Commissions and Planning Boards to develop and implement a plan of corrective measures based on the findings in I above.

a. The Town Planning Boards should create and adopt a joint District of Critical Planning (DCPD) to establish regulatory requirements to achieve the TMDL for nitrogen in Sengekontacket Pond.

b. The Town Planning Boards should amend zoning bylaws to limit additional bedroom capacity as a result of sewering.

c. The Town Waste Water Commissions should coordinate their plans and actions for sewering resources, and create and implement coordinated implementation to evaluate alternatives and provide as appropriate sewer resources for the most impacted embayments; Major’s Cove and Trapps Pond should be identified as high priority .

d. The Towns should investigate funding sources for enhanced nitrogen removal systems for year round residents in sensitive watersheds [Seasonal use does not promote sufficient nitrogen removal to justify the expense].

e. The Town Boards of Health should adopt a septic system bylaw (such as that in Tisbury) that requires inventory and testing of all septic systems with requirements for corrective action.

f. The towns should direct Boards of Health to test residential drinking water wells including levels of nitrogen. Collect the results and use these to identify “paths” of excess nitrogen in the watershed.

III. The DCPC should include:

a. Significant setbacks of 500 feet from wetlands or coastal zones where building, inappropriate landscaping and uncorrected runoff are prohibited

b. Specify maximum square footage of lawns and impervious surfaces within the watersheds and proximity to the pond

IV. Edgartown should:

a. Pursue private sewering in the Cow Bay and Oak Dale watersheds

b. Work with Mass Highway and identify other funding sources to implement the enlarged culvert for Trapps Pond; this includes pursuing the MA Wetlands Restoration Priority List

V. Oak Bluffs should:

a. Investigate whether nitrogen filtering from Wiggy’s Pond can be improved and implement any identified improvements

b. Investigate and require corrective measures for the use of excess fertilizer, mowing and overwatering at golf clubs in the watershed


The Joint Committee and FOS will:

I. Fund the Clam bioremediation project for summer 2012

II. Prepare MEP findings and urgency summary for all residents

III. Send letters to riparian landowners about the urgency to take individual actions: appropriate buffer and native landscaping; periodic septic inspections; composting toilets; upgrading to enhanced nitrogen removal systems; limiting fertilizer and watering; limiting impervious surfaces; managing water runoff from buildings and impervious surfaces

IV. Investigate holding a Septic Social and other model behaviors– to demonstrate enhanced systems benefits