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slides: Rhode Island’s Most Polluted Lakes, Ponds + Reservoirs

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

 

Summer may make one dream of crystal clear lakes perfect for swimming, or teeming with healthy fish. But for the 28 lakes, ponds and reservoirs categorized by Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management (DEM) as "impaired," that summer dream is just that--a dream.

Those bodies of water all fall under DEM's "Category 5", the lowest-quality definition of water, which means that the waterbody is "impaired or threatened for one of more designated uses by a pollutants, and requires a TMDL," according to DEM.

Why track water quality + reporting

Under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states, territories, and authorized tribes are required to develop lists of impaired waters. These are waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet the water quality standards set by states, territories, or authorized tribes. The law requires that these jurisdictions establish priority rankings for waters on the lists and develop TMDLs for these waters. A Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards.

DEM's list, available fully online, here, must be compiled every two years, and the latest updates were published by DEM in August 2012. The listing "reflects the dynamic process of managing the quality of the state's waters," according to the report. "Because many of the state's waterbodies are impaired for multiple parameters, waterbodies may still appear on the list despite improvements." So while one impairment may have been eliminated, DEM explains, others may still be present.

Progress and how to see it

"There are different ways to measure the progress," said Elizabeth Scott, Deputy Chief in the Office of Water Resources at DEM. "One way is to prepare the plans that are required under the Federal Water Act (we continue to have water quality restoration plans and have completed a total of 134 distinctly water bodies). We are well under way to restore our state's waters but the big challenges is to implement the necessary actions. The big challenge is on storm water management and especially, on urban storm water issue."

Scott said that DEM is calling upon municipalities to address runoffs from roads. "We are beginning to see some signs of improvements," she said.

Runoffs are a major threat to RI's lakes and ponds, according to Tom Kutcher, Narragansett Bay Keeper for Save The Bay. "Ponds and lakes are low points on the land," he said. "Most of the runoff eventually reaches the Bay but much of it gets trapped in the ponds and lakes. Most runoffs can cause impairments--to swimming, fishing, and drinking water."

Storm water runoffs can carry nutrients, bacteria and toxins such as metals and oils, Kutcher said. "Bacteria is dangerous for swimming and can lead to beach closures," he said. "Nutrients runoff can lead to algae that's toxic and eutrophication."

Kutcher said that Save The Bay is working to minimize or even reverse the impact of runoff, working with municipalities and "trying to get them more responsible for their storm water runoff," he said.

Both Kutcher and DEM's Scott agreed that every Rhode Islander can help reverse the impairment of these ponds, lakes and reservoirs, with simple changes in behavior. "There are really steps that everyone can take to prevent further degradation," Scott said. "Clean up after your pets. If you apply fertilizer, you only apply how much you need and it doesn't touch the pavements, and don't overwater your lawn."

To see which ponds, lakes and reservoirs in Rhode Island remain on DEM's Category 5 list, see below.

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Scott Pond

Lincoln, RI

Size: 42.13 acres

Cause/Impairment: Copper, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous

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Valley Falls Pond

Cumberland, RI

Size: 37.97 acres

Cause/Impairment: Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Bioassessments, Lead, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorus, Fecal Coliform

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Green Hill Pond

South Kingstown/Charlestown RI

Size: 0.657 S

Cause/Impairment: Dissolved Oxygen, Fecal Coliform

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Silver Spring Lake

North Kingstown, RI

Size: 18.75 acres

Cause/Impairment: Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Phosphorous

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Saugatucket Pond

South Kingstown, RI

Size: 40.58 acres

Cause/Impairment: Benthic-Macroinvertebrate Bioassessments, Phosphorous

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Silver Lake

South Kingstown, RI

Size: 44.78 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Great Salt Pond

Great Salt Pond, Trim's Pond & Harbor Pond

New Shoreham, RI

Size: 0.11 S

Cause/Impairment: Fecal Coliform

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Lily Pond

Newport, RI

Size: 29.13 acres

Causes/Impairment: Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Phosphorous

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Round Pond

Little Compton, RI

Size: 34.25 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Barney Pond

Lincoln, RI

Size: 23.84 acres

Cause/Impairment: Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Phosphorous

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Prince's Pond

(Tiffany Pond)

Barrington, RI

Size: 0.013 S

Cause/Impairment: Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous

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Melville Ponds

Portsmouth, RI

Size: 13.59 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Chapman Pond

Westerly, RI

Size: 172.8 acres

Cause/Impairment: Eurasian Water Milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum, Lead, Non-Native Aquatic Plants

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Hundred Acre Pond

South Kingstown, RI

Size: 84.16 acres

Cause/Impairment: Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Dissolved Oxygen, Mercury in Fish Tissue

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White Brook Pond

Richmond, RI

Size: 6.4 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Deep Pond

Exeter, RI

Size: 17.39 acres

Cause/Impairment: Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous

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Three Ponds

Warwick, RI

Size: 21.41 acres

Cause/Impairments: Copper, Lead, Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous

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Mashapaug Pond

Providence, RI

Size: 76.75 acres

Cause/Impairment: Excess Algal Growth, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous, PCB in Fish Tissue, Fecal Coliform

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Fenner Pond

Cranston, RI

Size: 19.47 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Print Works Pond

Cranston, RI

Size: 26.26 acres

Cause/Impairment: Chloride, Lead, Total Suspended Solids, Fecal Coliform

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Blackamore Pond

Cranston, RI

Size: 20.44 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Omega Pond

East Providence, RI

Size: 30.20 acres

Cause/Impairment:Aluminum, Cadmium, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous, Fecal Coliform

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Lake Washington

Glocester, RI

Size: 40.89 acres

Cause/Impairment: Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Phosphorous

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Lower Sprague Reservoir

Smithfield, RI

Size: 25.12 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous

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Turner Reservoir

East Providence, RI

Size: 85.08 acres

Cause/Impairment: Aluminum, Cadmium, Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous

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Turner Reservoir

(Central Pond)

East Providence, RI

Size: 129.7 acres

Cause/Impairment: Aluminum, Cadmium, Non-Native Aquatic Plants, Dissolved Oxygen, Phosphorous

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Simmons Reservoir

Johnston, RI

Size: 109 acres

Cause/Impairment: Phosphorous, Turbidity

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Slatersville Reservoir

Burrillville, North Smithfield, RI

Size: 218.9 acres

Cause/Impairment: Copper, Lead, Non-Native Aquatic Plants

 
 

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Comments:

JOJO MONKEY

you left out the statehouse

Redd Ratt

A lot of mention of fecal chloroform in the slides but no mention in the article. Are geese an environmental hazard or not?

Howard Miller

are there any good ponds left ???????????????????????/

Jim Cooney

I have lived on Hundred Acre Pond for 25 years and have been told by URI experts and others that Hundred Acre Pond, spring fed and deep, is one of the healthiest ponds in R.I. We have a Hundred Acre Pond organization that focuses on Pond Health and have brought in professional evaluators who give us a thumbs up score. We do have invasive plants but have taken action on them (in fact we are doing that today).
I seriously question these categories and the actual evaluation. Do you provide dates of evaluation , the process by which you collect your info, etc.

Jim cooney




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