For 130 years, a siphon system removed the brackish water from West Harbor Pond. The system failed after 2009 and the water quality in the pond deteriorated. Brackish water is the salt water that seeps through the stone dam and into the pond. The West Harbor Pond Watershed Association spent several years under the leadership of Leslie Volpe developing a plan and raising the funds to replace the failed siphon. Leslie was most thorough and diligent, not only in raising the funds (private money), but in making certain that all permits, engineering and approval was done properly.
The task was completed in late winter (2018/2019) and the siphon began to function as it had before. One area not considered prior to the activation of the new siphon was the build-up of the brackish water at the bottom of the pond. Remember, there was no flushing process from 2009 to 2019, and as a result, the reactivation of an effective siphon created an offensive, foul discharge and odor.
I have summered on West Harbor Pond for 50 years, and I have owned property on the pond for almost 25 years, so I do have a definite interest in the water quality of the pond. However, I do understand the complaints of the people in the condominiums and the other properties that abut the pond, and if I owned that property, I would complain about the pond smelling and the brackish water being discharged.
I am not an engineer or an expert, but I think I have given a fair explanation of the problem with the West Harbor Pond siphon. I am a retired businessman/educator and after 40 years of negotiating business differences, I believe a satisfactory solution to this siphon problem can be worked out. Lawyers and governmental agencies don’t solve problems – they muddy the water.
For the long-term well being of the pond, the removal of brackish, silty water is necessary, and for the well being of those who abut the pond, an unoffensive and odor-free removal is necessary. I hope the two sides in this issue can find a way to work together and satisfy the needs of both parties.