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Sturbridge ponds pass test

Annual assessment gauges water quality

Recreational uses such as swimming is one area Sturbridge is looking at to guage increased human demand on water quality. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
June 20, 2010
STURBRIDGE — The town's ponds are "all in relatively good shape."

That's the assessment of Dr. David Mitchell, a former member of the Conservation Commission and the individual spearheading annual water quality tests of the town's six great ponds.

Mitchell, part of the Sturbridge Lakes Advisory Committee, revealed his findings during a presentation last Thursday, June 17 in which he defined great ponds as "Ponds that in the their natural state have 10 acres or more" of surface area.

Sturbridge's include Big Alum Lake, Leadmine Pond, Cedar Lake, Walker Pond, East Brimfield Reservoir or Long Pond and Quacumquasit, or South, Pond.

The ponds have been tested for numerous elements in the late summer for the last eight years.

In mid-August, Mitchell, along with Conservation Agent Erin Jacque and a team of volunteers, ventures to the same GPS guided locations in the ponds and takes samples at different depths, which are then tested for dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, phosphate, zooplankton, chlorophyll and other characteristics.

All the elements of the ponds, Mitchell said, are interconnected — dark water reduces the amount of light that permeates the water.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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