Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shooting the Shit at Atlantic Beach

The title isn't really meant to be clever- really. This fairly accurately describes the discussion topic for the special meeting with the Council Tues. night.

I went to the Woods Hole group presentation (Phase 2) on the feasibility of using a pipe at Atlantic Beach to shoot the polluted runoff (animal feces) from 2 pipes that currently exist there farther out into the ocean. The conclusion is that this is certainly a feasibility with a pipe extending from the beach, running along the ocean coastline/floor for appx. 1 mile extending it slightly beyond the land's point (appx. $10 million).

The next phase of the study will come up with an actual plan (a pump may be required to move the water along) with projected costs & documentation needed for the various required approvals.

Some questioning by the Council followed (4 members were present- Mello, Santos, Silveira, & Silva). The interim Town Admin. stated that he was scheduled for a meeting with Newport's City Mgr. to discuss their progress on the moat problem, possible solutions, and the possibility of a regional solution. The Town Engineer has also proposed covering runoff outlets with grids. I am unsure of how the latter would help much.

Part of the problem in this area are the open run-off ditches. Skunks & racoons use these for easy transport across areas. Hence, the feces. How a crowded, urban area which is what we've got here, can still have open ditches is beyond me. I would think that closing these might help solve some of the problem. However, I do understand that the State has streets draining into the overflow pipe directly onto the beach. Would the State reimburse us for improvements along their roads? It's been done before. I could use more input here. The town/state has never really solved its drainage problems across the town.

Of course, shooting out the pipe with the crap doesn't really mean that the pollution disappears, just that it goes elsewhere- nearby. The residents (including the Clambake Club) in that area may object since the effluent water isn't being treated. Could it also end up at Second Beach? Of course, the pipe could be longer or... The thinking seems to be that we need a baseline plan with costs before we can decide on other more involved, costly possibilities. In other words, don't expect a solution for this summer. Everytime it rains, there will be beach closings at Atlantic/First Beaches.
There were few in the audience. Let's see- Ocean State Access- four of us. Two Council attendee regulars. That's it. Department heads, the Council, the Solicitor, & the Town Admin.- all men (2 female Councillors), two women employees (Clerk & ?secretary), and me. And only 3 of us (women) sporting any green at all. Yes, it bothered me. The women (lack of) more so than the green.

I'm sure the town will post a link with the full report. When it's up, I'll post.
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