Bartlett project aims to intercept Fernald-bound pollutants

NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles relating news and information about caring for the Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake watershed.

“It seems to be going according to plan.” That’s the verdict on the storm water abatement project recently completed at Bartlett’s Tree Experts on Center Street in Wolfeboro, according to Kirk Titus, Local Manager and ISA Certified Arborist.

Water runoff from their two acre parking lot and building roof used to go untreated into Fernald Brook before entering Lake Wentworth.

Now it is treated but only in the most natural of ways. The runoff, including salt, silt and other waste products such as oil residue and trash get shunted into a series of infiltration pits, drainage ditches, and dams, similar to speed bumps, that slow the flow.

This process allows sediments, residue and trash to settle before going into the brook, provides roots and grasses that help purify the runoff, and prevents soil erosion on the slopes between the parking lot and the stream.

The design for the project came from Land Tech in Ossipee and was constructed by Fred H. Antonucci’s earthworks and excavation firm, Earth Movers, in Wolfeboro.

It’s hard to visualize how much water is slowed, contained and cleaned from the Bartlett facility before leaving the property and entering into Fernald Brook. A one inch rainfall produces about 54,000 gallons of water on the impervious surfaces at the facility. Using Wolfeboro’s average rainfall of 45.5 inches per year, this means 1,235,507 gallons of runoff are now being treated.

“We should all be grateful to Bartlett’s for their efforts”, states Jack O’Connell, President of the Lake Wentworth Foundation. “Their storm water BMPs (Best Management Practices) are not only treating the millions of gallons coming off their property’s impervious surfaces, but also millions of gallons coming off Center St. A pipe under their parking lot that carries storm water runoff from the upland property across the street into their drainage basins.”

Although it “cost a lot” to create the system according to Titus, “it is well worth it”. Upkeep costs are minimal, “only some mowing a few times a year”, he adds.

O’Connell adds, “Engineering estimates show that this new BMP installation will trap over 1,300 pounds of silt and debris each year from reaching Fernald Brook and eventually washing into Lake Wentworth. This reduces the growing problems of silt deposits on the lake bottom and increased plant growth.”

According to Titus, the parent company, based in Charlotte, NC, has a record of environmental responsibility for more than a century, including over 30 years here in New Hampshire.
“Bartlett’s efforts will improve the water quality of our lakes, particularly since this work has addressed one of the high priority sites identified in the recent Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake Watershed Management Plan.” O’Connell comments.

“Stormwater runoff that carries silt and phosphorus into our lakes is the single largest problem for water quality and is one problem we collectively can do something about.” says O’Connell. “It is estimated that 60% of the phosphorous will be removed from runoff by Bartlett’s treatments. This aids tremendously in our goal of reducing phosphorous entry in the lakes by 15% by 2023.”

Kirk, Fred and the Lake Wentworth Foundation hope other stream and lake abutters will see the Bartlett project as a model that can be adapted for their own properties.

If all goes as planned, this same work will be duplicated by the Foundation, in collaboration with the town, behind the neighboring Trites property, with funding from the Foundation, town of Wolfeboro, and state. The Foundation is looking forward to providing guided tours for the public of this and other stormwater management projects.

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