Gaecklin Road is looking – and functioning – a lot better this week. The Boothbay Public Works crew regraded the road and installed new culverts, ditches, and check dams over the summer and Crooker Construction paved the road last week. With these road improvements, residents, first responders and plow trucks will no longer have to negotiate a soupy and rutted road. More importantly, Knickerbocker Lake will stop receiving downwashes of phosphorus-laden sediment eroded from the road surface, which degrades water quality. Maintaining water quality in our public water sources helps keep our drinking water healthful and reduces water treatment costs.
Boothbay Region Water District has received several grants in recent years to protect water quality in Adams Pond and Knickerbocker Lake, including funds to remediate pollution sources. When the water district identified Gaecklin Road as a significant source of polluted runoff to Knickerbocker Lake, it sought Clean Water Act grant funds from Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to make improvements. With the aid of federal dollars, Public Works Director Mike Alley was happy to move a long-standing problem road to the top of his 2021 list. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens made the project easier to accomplish by contributing funds, as well.
The $42,940 DEP grant for the Gaecklin Road project was awarded to the water district in 2020. This is the third DEP Clean Water Act grant the water district has received since 2016 to address non-point source pollution sites in the Adams Pond and Knickerbocker Lake watersheds. Using DEP methods, the water district estimates the Gaecklin Road upgrade will keep about 11 pounds of phosphorus from reaching Knickerbocker Lake annually – a significant amount for a substance that can affect water quality at the parts per billion level. Overall, the water district’s three 319 grant projects have brought $130,750 in federal grant dollars to the community and removed an annual pollutant load of over 100 pounds of phosphorus to the two public water supplies.
The 319 grant projects are a good example of how collaboration among local organizations and residents benefits the whole community. The Town of Boothbay, Boothbay Region YMCA, CMBG, and numerous watershed property owners partnered with the water district to complete 32 remediation projects under these 319 grants to protect the public water supply. Without these partnerships, far less would have been accomplished.
Funding for this project, in part, was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act. The funding is administered by Maine DEP in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency.