RCL Parson’s Creek May 17th Site Walk Notes

Rye Civic League Notes

Parsons Creek Watershed Committee

Tuesday May 17, 2016

Site Walk

Present: All members of the Committee, Town Administrator Michael Magnant, Planning and Zoning Administrator: Kim Reed, Sally Soule, NH DES.

Town of Rye: Parsons Creek Watershed  Page:    Click Here

The Committee, accompanied by a representative of NH DES, visited areas identified as “hot spots” by recent and historical water testing.

  1. Beach Seeps and Parsons Creek Outlet: RB 1, 2, 3 are beach seep sampling locations near theParsons Creek Outlet and a few hundred yards north down the beach.  The actual Parsons Creek Outlet, PC-Out had high night counts in 2015. The two beach seeps RB-1 and RB-2  showing a mid day spike on one of the 2 sampling dates .

See page 3 of the 2015 Parsons Creek Watershed Water Quality Report here http://www.town.rye.nh.us/pages/RyeNH_Environment/Public_Presentation_1-13-16.pdf/2015_ParsonsCk_WQReport.pdf

Other sites sites sampled north along the beach showed water quality all within acceptable limits in 2015. The Committee wondered how what appeared to be new homes in the area of the seeps could have septic issues. Ms. Soule, who lives inKitterytold of a particularly bad seep, at Fort Foster Beach Kittery that was eventually traced to an old, no longer used and improperly drained cesspool which leaked for many years until discovered.  There was discussion if signs should or should not be posted in this stretch of beach in 2016. No conclusions were reached. Ms. Soule said that inMaineposting warns of potential bacteria for a period after rain events.

  1. The Committee next went to sampling site BCH-11 the culvert midway between 1A and Parsons Road on Marsh Road. This site has shown consistently high contamination over time. It was observed that while it was low tide brackish still water was in the creek on both sides of the road, indicating a drainage problem.  A member of the public stopped by on a bike and informed the Committee that a large number of dog waste bags are dumped in this stretch. DES representative stated that dog waste bags tend to be left in “undeveloped” areas, not in front of homes, and that inDover part of a similar pollution problem was tracked to dog waste bags put in catch basins. There was discussion of posting signs for dog waste pick up in the area.  There was discussion of the difficulty of detecting and enforcing failing systems where no obvious surface leaks can be observed and that simple ground water wells are a tool but that owners’ permission is needed. The member of the public who told the committee about the dog waste volunteered to have a well placed on his property onParsons Road. It was observed that several homes on Parsons are in low lying areas close to the marsh edge. It was disclosed by Ms. Soule that a state DES investigator has been looking at this specific area. A portion of the marsh on both sides of the road is owned by the State.
  2. Next stop was BCH-08 the culvert on Marsh Road between the Marsh Pond and the marsh proper with overview to PC 7, 8, and 9 sampling locations in the marsh on the south side of the road. High levels were detected last fall. Given the very large body of water from the pond and few houses adjacent there was speculation that migrating waterfowl may be part of the issue. Town contracted DNA testing will attempt to determine for this and a few other locations to what extent contamination may or may not be human caused. PC 7, 8, & 9 which had even higher levels last fall are perplexing as there are relatively few homes on Brackett draining to this area. One member stated that catch basins and storm water pipes drain into the marsh at the intersection of Clark and Brackett as well as closer to the Marsh intersection. Ms. Soule of DES stated that it is very difficult to get bacteria treated at the outlets of storm water systems.

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