To the Editor:
The Edgartown Wastewater Treatment Facility (EWWTF) and its willing accomplices are slowly killing the Edgartown Great Pond (EGP).
Since 2005 when the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group published the “Blue Book,” it was understood that we should practice to try and develop a watershed approach to protecting our salt ponds and coastal embayments, as well as educating the public that “watersheds are the pathways to our ponds.”
History shows we have not been doing a very good job of using the watershed approach to protect the EGP. A majority of the Edgartown wastewater commissioners, along with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, either don’t believe in a watershed approach, or choose to ignore it. Why else would they have allowed the Field Club Development in Edgartown in 2008 to import that development’s sewerage into the watershed of the EGP via the EWWTF?
The entire Island’s septage now goes to the EWWTF. The contaminants that can be removed through tertiary treatment end up in the plant sludge, the rest enters the plume dumping its contents into the EGP.
The M.V. Commision now has before them the Meeting House Place subdivision plan. Although this development is in the watershed of the EGP, it is new flow being created to enter the pond via the EWWTF. Why would we allow the remaining capacity in the Edgartown facility to be used to sewer The Meeting House Place subdivision when we could sewer existing homes and failed systems that now exist, so that their current flow into the pond could be reduced from 40 to 50 mg/L down to 3 to 5 mg/L?
This, of course, makes the most sense, but it appears that the Edgartown wastewater commissioners and some, but not all, of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission are making some sort of deal with the developers of Meeting House Place, which gains them access to the remaining plant capacity ahead of Edgartown taxpayers.
In addition to subdivision and septage from the entire Island, our sole-source aquifer should be reason enough to pause, and scale back this project. Thirty-eight new homes all dipping their straws into the aquifer, not just for domestic water, but for irrigation. Guess what? There is not an endless supply of water in the aquifer. Life here will get very complicated when the aquifer becomes depleted.
We are fouling our nest, and by allowing these developments to be sewered, encouraging further development. Look at what has happened in just the past 20 years to our once quaint Edgartown whaling village. They have torn down historic structures, and built lot line to lot line, because sewering made it possible. The MV Commission should be sending the message to town officials, politicians, developers, and property owners that it is not all for sale to the highest bidder. The current, relatively pristine, environment needs to be protected from overdevelopment. We are all watching.
Jay A. Guest