Friday, May 5, 2006
Carlisle's cranberries threatened by Chelmsford dam problems
Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard updated the Conservation Commission on the status of negotiations with their Chelmsford counterparts concerning repairs to a critical Cranberry Bog structure located on that town's property. As described at the April 27 meeting, the problem is a "weir," or small dam, designed to control the flow of water from a ponding area within the Chelmsford portion of the Cranberry Bog Reservation to the large holding pond at the rear of the Bog. Not only is the structure itself in danger of breaching, but the threat is intensified by beaver activity that is shunting excess water into the area behind the dam. Should the structure fail, it could destroy farmer Mark Duffy's 2006 cranberry crop.
Over a year ago the commission believed it had an agreement with its sister commission for a joint repair project. Hart Pond in Chelmsford is the source of a stream and associated ponding areas in the Cranberry Bog Reservation that supply water for Duffy's operations. Under the apparent agreement, Chelmsford would prepare an approach to the weir and buy the necessary materials for repair. At that point, Duffy would take over and do the actual construction. However, the Chelmsford town fathers are reported to have had second thoughts about the insurance implications of a non-employee of their town doing the work, and to date nothing has happened.
Noting that although Carlisle has water rights that were guaranteed under the original two-town purchase of the Bog Reservation, "we do not have the land rights in Chelmsford's portion." The commission asked Willard to "give it one more try," communicate Carlisle's concern to the Chelmsford commission and make it clear that the problem requires timely resolution. The administrator concurred, warning that, "We don't want to have a disaster for lack of a couple of thousand dollars." As of Monday, May 1, Willard reported having spent more than three hours Saturday walking the watershed with Chelmsford Commissioner Ruth Luna, who promised to raise the matter at her board's May 2 meeting.
652 Lowell Street
Following the Bog discussion, the commission considered a Notice of Intent to replace a failing septic system filed by Laureita Crombie of 652 Lowell Street. Engineer George Hannaford of Norse Design Services described a new system for the tri-level house on a non-conforming lot. The project involved two septic tanks, a pump chamber, leaching field, electrical connection and associated grading. The major problem involved access to the back portion of the lot that would require contractors to traverse an old culvert. The solution was to lay down metal plates that could be removed once the system was installed. The hearing was closed and a standard order of conditions issued.
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