Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dam & Moat Contribute to Beach Pollution

**UPDATE: For "safety reasons" public access has been closed to the damn & moat. It may never be open again. My sons used to love to fish there. I guess no can do any more. I took many walks here, some alone and some with my sons. I'll never forget early one evening the glittering rosy pink/gold glow covering the top of the dam. It was the water lotus? in full bloom combining with the beautiful and fleeting sunset. They merged into a magnificent and breathtaking display of shimmering color lasting only for a few minutes. I've never seen anything to compare and probably never will again. This really makes me angry.

It's not just the sewers & the street drains that are causing pollution problems at First & Atlantic beachers, it's the dam & the moat. An initial study conducted by Newport regarding the dam/moat indicates that the dam is falling apart & the moat is severely polluted & no longer serving it's original purpose - taking the overflow from the resevoir. The moat now serves as the end point of runoff from the surrounding neighborhood (it's the low spot). This is because Middletown has generally ignored installing a good system of drains resulting in frequent floodings all over the town.

The moat is polluted with animal waste (pets, raccoons, birds, etc.). I remind you of the story I heard this summer of a family who took their puppy for a walk along the moat. He drank some water there resulting in meningitis. This is the water that then drains into the beaches, especially after rains. Yuck!

The report has no easy solutions & all of them are expensive. There will be a later report on this issue. You may be writing this off as Newport's problem, but guess again if this water flows into Middletown beaches. This report also faults a drain belonging to Middletown - the one they're thinking of extending a mile to run into the ocean - go Maggie Bulmer!) and two in Middletown controlled by the DOT.

BTW, a big thanks is owed to the local surfers (Clean Water Access) who conduct testing at MANY locations by First & Atlantic beaches & the moat on their own initiative. It's this group who helps keep public awareness up-front on this issue. I wished they'd take an interest in the far end of poor old Third Beach which is permanently closed due to pollution.

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