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Nov 3, 2008 5:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Solution to Mill Pond fish kill could cost nearly $100,000

Nov 3, 2008 5:04 PM

A solution for the cause of a massive fish kill in Mill Pond in Water Mill in September might carry a nearly $100,000 price tag for Southampton Town, according to Jim Walker, an environmental consultant to the Town Trustees.

Last month, Mr. Walker and Southampton Town Trustee Fred Havemeyer met with Lee Lyman, a limnologist who speculated that the fish kill was caused by the runoff of phosphorous into the Trustee-owned pond.

According to Mr. Lyman, an increase in phosphorous, which algae feed on, led to a blue-green algae bloom. He explained that the large quantity of algae died after a cold snap and the decomposition process depleted the oxygen supply, asphyxiating the fish.

To prevent another fish kill, Mr. Lyman proposed introducing the natural mineral alum into the pond, explaining that it would bind phosphorous, causing it to settle in the bottom of the pond where the algae would not be able to feed.

Mr. Walker, who addressed the Trustees during their meeting on Monday afternoon, said that Mr. Lyman suggested introducing alum into the pond in three small increments at a cost of $30,000 each. During the meeting the Trustees also agreed to pay Mr. Lyman $1,600 for the consulting work he has already completed.

Mr. Walker noted that the procedure was so costly because Mr. Lyman must transport his equipment from Massachusetts to distribute the alum properly. If the procedure were performed incorrectly, it could cause another fish kill. “It has to be spread evenly,” Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Walker estimated that the treatment, which would be introduced in the spring of 2009, would be effective for the next five to 10 years.

Trustee President Jon Semlear asked Mr. Walker to provide the Trustees with “a prior example of where this has been done” before allowing Mr. Lyman to implement the solution. Although Mr. Semlear said he did not doubt Mr. Lyman’s observations, he explained that he wanted to “be able to back up” such an expensive initiative.

Vera Chinese

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