The City of Brockton has turned over some documents regarding its water diversion from the Monponsett ponds, according to Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig in response to a formal public records request for, among other information, the water budget for the city.
Halifax has made multiple requests to secure these documents. But the requests were ignored long before the formal public records request was sent, with notable regret, according to Seelig.
According to Halifax Health Agent Cathy Drinan, Brockton Water Superintendent Brian Creedon is misinterpreting– and possibly disregarding– legislation regarding Brockton’s use of water from the Monponsett Ponds, ignoring the part of the 1964 law passing on a financial obligation to the City of Brockton to maintain the Monponsett Ponds.
This has angered Halifax officials as well as state officials such as state Rep. Thomas Calter who has threatened to take the matter to the Attorney General’s office, according to Driden. The legislation clearly states that Brockton has a financial responsibility to maintain the Monponsett Ponds if they are diverting water.
Seelig will be going through the budget attempting to reach out to Brockton to find the money from their water department in order to fund this mandate to maintain the Monponsett Ponds so that cash-strapped Halifax does not have to.
Brockton has the right under 1964 legislation, crafted during a severe drought, says Drinan, to divert water from the East Pond into Silver Lake, which is then treated for Brockton drinking water and is sold to adjacent communities.
According to both Seelig and Drinan this diversion, given that water levels are high enough, can happen anytime between Oct. 1 to May 31.
The diversion reverses water flow by gravity across natural watersheds, and brings water from the stagnant and algae-ridden West Pond into the East Pond, which has suffered as well from both algae and invasive weeds, though to a lesser extent according to Seelig. The East Pond has been able to stay open this year.
Drinan stated that the treatment administration has helped, referring to the chemical water treatments that the taxpayers of Halifax pay for to help keep the ponds cleaner.
Hanson Selectman Don Howard, who also serves on the Monponsett Pond Committee, told his board on Sept. 1 that algae levels in West Monponsett Pond continue to result in advisories against any recreational use, especially swimming.
Howard noted the photo taken by Halifax Police Chief Ted Broderick showing East Monponsett “completely clear.”
“What it proves, and I’m not a scientist or engineer or anything, is East lake is spring-fed and what’s happening is water is being flowed into West lake,” he said. “Mother Nature is taking over in the area as long as Brockton doesn’t take water.”
But, come October, when the water level is up to over 52 feet, Howard said Brockton will be able to take water from the ponds, “taking the contaminated water and putting it into Silver Lake.”
“Personally, I’d like to see it go back to nature,” he said. “I would like to see the dam taken out, I’d like to see the pond continue to operate at 51 or 52 feet so Brockton can’t take water. They disturbed Mother Nature back when they got this water act in 1964.”
Hanson selectmen are also concerned about the potential effect on the water issue should Brockton build a casino.
Halifax Selectman Chairman Kim Roy has been very vocal about the Monponsett Pond “situation” for some time, and despite her anger, wants to work with Brockton officials to find a long-term solution to end the pollution caused by this practice, as do other Halifax Selectmen and Halifax officials.
“It is about our small, beautiful community not being able to enjoy the ponds. This has become personal; it is hard for it not to,” said Roy. “Besides being a beautiful natural resource for our residents to enjoy, the practice of disturbing the natural flow of water is destroying the ponds and the wildlife.”