The Brewster Ponds Summit 2022 was held on Friday, June 17th from 9AM - 12 Noon at the Brewster Baptist Church. The summit focused on the impact of septic system nutrient loading to groundwater and ponds. Leaders and administrators from the town’s Select Board, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Public Works, Health Department, Conservation, Planning and Water Departments were all in attendance as five expert panelists provided an overview of how title 5 septic systems work and the fact they they provide little nutrient reduction as wastewater flow out of septic system leach fields into groundwater and ponds. More than 90 people attended in person. Our media partners at Lower Cape TV kindly live streamed the event through the town of Brewster Facebook page, where more than 90 additional people watched. LCTV recorded the full meeting which is available by clicking here.
Images courtesy of William F. Pomeroy
Join us for four (4) FREE cycling tours this summer as we explore the backroads and kettle ponds of Brewster and beyond.
CYCLING TOUR #1 Thursday June 30, 2022 - Time: 9:15AM
Ride the Cape Cod Rail Trail past four kettle ponds and into Harwich. Perhaps a rest stop in Harwich center for a drink and a stop at one of Brewster's kettle ponds on the return and perhaps a dip in the pond? Meet-up instructions will be provided prior to the event.
Each participant must register individually. Each ride is limited to 12 participants. Free to BPC Members. Save these dates! Location and directions to be announced. All rides start at 9:30 AM. Future cycle tours: Thursday July 28, Thursday August 25, Thursday September 22, 2022.
Please read BPC RULES OF THE ROAD before signing up!
Cyanobacteria bloom, School House Pond, 2021
The Brewster Ponds Coalition and the Town of Brewster present Brewster Ponds Summit 2022 on Friday, June 17th from 9AM to 12 Noon at the Brewster Baptist Church, 1848 Main Street, Brewster, MA. Brewster Ponds Summit 2022 will focus on the impact of septic systems on Brewster’s groundwater and freshwater ponds, as well as potential solutions and funding mechanisms. Town officials will participate. The summit is an open forum and residents are encouraged to attend and ask questions. The summit will also be livestreamed on the town of Brewster's Facebook Page. Link Here:
The Brewster Ponds Summit 2022 will consist of presentations by a panel of experts in many fields including environmental engineering, sewers, alternative septic systems and the available funding mechanisms.
“Septic systems are the greatest contributor to groundwater and freshwater pond degradation,” said Susan Bridges, Brewster Ponds Coalition President. The town of Brewster has been very forward thinking about protecting the watershed around our town wells, resulting in numerous awards for the quality of our drinking water. However, the portions of our town not protected by land purchases, including most of the ponds, bay water, and private wells, are experiencing increasing water quality degradation with septic systems being the number one cause. We need to address this problem, investigate our options and plan for the future.”
“The Town of Brewster has always been a leader in seeking to preserve and protect our vital natural resources,” said Peter Lombardi, Brewster Town Administrator. “Maintaining and improving our water quality is a consensus priority for the community. Looking ahead, we are facing complex policy decisions with significant financial and environmental impacts on our residents. As we reflect on our progress to date and explore various potential upcoming water quality initiatives, the Town appreciates the continued partnership and support of the Brewster Ponds Coalition and looks forward to co-sponsoring this event with them.”
Expert panelists include:
John Keith is an environmental engineer with over 45 years of experience. He has traveled throughout the world studying and working on environmental problems. John currently works with Pure Earth, an NGO, assessing and developing cleanup plans for mercury and lead contamination sites in developing countries. Previously, John was VP of Environment and Safety for Pfizer and Assistant Commissioner of the NJ DEP. In his career he has designed and operated several wastewater treatment plants and assessed water pollution problems in numerous locations. He is a founding member and currently Vice-President of the Brewster Ponds Coalition.
Mark Nelson - Horsley Witten Group, Inc. Sandwich, MA. Mark is a Principal and Senior Hydrogeologist with over 30 years of experience in water resource planning focusing on wastewater management and its impacts to drinking water, freshwater ponds and coastal estuaries. He has been working for the Town of Brewster since 2011 on the development and implementation of the Town’s Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, including plans to protect and restore Brewster’s freshwater ponds.
Brian Dudley - Worked for MassDEP for 32 years retiring in December 2021 as the Wastewater Management Section Chief for the Cape and Islands. His responsibilities included permitting, compliance and enforcement and administering groundwater and Title 5 regulations. Additionally, he served as the Project Manager for the Massachusetts Estuaries Project and helped develop the first of its kind watershed permit for the Pleasant Bay watershed. Prior to arriving at MassDEP, he worked for a private consulting firm in Falmouth.
Brian Baumgaertel - Director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center, Sandwich, MA. Brian is a Senior Environmental Specialist at the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment. He is a Registered Sanitarian, Environmental Health Specialist, Title 5 Soil Evaluator and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator. Originally from Upstate New York, Brian has lived on Cape Cod for 15 years and currently resides in Mashpee, where he serves as Chair of the local Board of Health.
Nathaniel Keenan, Massachusetts Clean Water Trust - Nate Keenan is Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust where he has worked since 2011. During that time, he has worked to execute over $1 billion in bond issuances, drafted the Trust’s first Green Bond and Sustainability Bond disclosure language, and developed a lead and copper pipe testing and remediation program for schools in Massachusetts. Nate graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Michael’s College and a Master’s Degree from Suffolk University.
Wednesday, June 15th, 10AM - 12 Noon. Back by popular demand, learn how to identify invasive aquatic plants, understand how they spread, and what to do if you find them. Once invasive plants are established they are almost impossible to remove and very expensive to control. Invasive plants spread rapidly and form dense mats that can make boating, fishing and swimming impossible.
Join Jim Straub and Tim Flannery from the MA Department of Conservation & Recreation Lakes & Ponds Program for this free program to help us maintain the health of Brewster’s ponds! Participants are encouraged to bring plants (rooted or floating) from their own ponds.
Registration for the event is free, but participation is limited. Event takes place at the First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist Church, 1969 Main Street in Brewster.
Saturday, May 21st (rain date May 22nd). Join the BPC for a two-mile hike at Nickerson State Park at 10 AM on Three Ponds: Big Cliff, Little Cliff, and Higgins will be viewed, along with a synopsis of the history of the park and BPC water testing. There is a maximum of 25 participants.
Please Email Nancy Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Thursday, May 19th. Beauty and function go hand in hand with Perma Gardening systems designed by Regenerative Agroecologist Peter Jensen. Join Peter and his wife, Holistic Nutritionist and Horticulturist Lynn Van Norman, for a dynamic and engaging “Aquifer protection through ecosystem strengthening and resilience walk.”
Learn and observe how to create beautiful landscapes using rain gardens, downspout keyhole gardens, water walks, swales, and terraces to control runoff from roofs, roads, and driveways. Join us on Thursday, May 19th, for one of two tours, either from 10 AM–noon or 2–4 PM. Tours will begin at 155 Monument Road, Orleans. Admission is free but each session is limited to 40 people. To reserve your spot at one of these talks, sign up below.
Chat with BPC Board members and volunteers and meet Shelley The Turtle - the BPC Mascot, this weekend in front of the Brewster Book Store as we celebrate Brewster In Bloom!
Images by William F. Pomeroy
Saturday, April 23rd, was a beautiful day for Beautify Brewster. Twenty-one BPC volunteers showed up at 10 AM for the two hour clean up of Satucket and Slough Roads. This year, DNR created very detailed sheets to document the type of trash picked up. By far the biggest winner in terms of number was cigarette butts. Nip bottles, however, were a close second. Our group alone collected 253 nips. We are hoping that the State will either initiate a deposit or ban the sale altogether as so many end up on the side of the road. BPC photographer Bill Pomeroy went above and beyond the call of duty to pick up trash in addition to taking his usual great photos of the event. It was great to have him participate on both levels. Now we await the results of the DNR tally sheets. Comparing types of trash picked up from year to year will help future decisions regarding waste disposal. Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered and made this day a great success!
What's In Your Water? Learn about the challenges that Cape Cod, and Brewster in particular, is facing in supplying clean and healthy public drinking water in this informative talk presented by Paul Anderson, Superintendent of Brewster's Water Department. Click on picture above to see video.
Join the BPC Team — always one of the largest and most fun groups — for the 10th Annual Beautify Brewster Day to help clean up roads and paths in Brewster that contribute to pond and groundwater degradation. We’ll begin at 10 AM on Saturday, April 23 (rain date April 24). Email BPC Team Leader Nancy Ortiz at email@example.com for more information and to sign up.