by Mindee Goodrum, York County Soil & Water Conservation District
The City of Sanford has been awarded a second consecutive Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Grant (319) funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. This funding is administered by the Maine DEP in partnership with the EPA with efforts aimed at to continuing to clean-up and rehabilitate Goodall Brook which runs through the western side of the City and merges with the headwaters of the Great Works River. This Phase II grant will focus on habitat restoration of approximately 550 linear feet of stream habitat through woody debris installation projects and treatment of stormwater runoff from several West Side streets through tree box filters.
The woody debris work is designed to improve flow in the brook to correct the impacts of channelizing the brook over 100 years ago before the municipal sewer system began construction in 1909 for the same purpose, but which ended up stagnating the flow by the build-up of sediments. By strategic placement of woody debris under the direction of a fluvial geomorphologist, the goal is to naturally create flow complexity and streambed habitat in a currently stagnant channel, which had been artificially straightened. This will improve the water quality, increase oxygenation, and create habitat for a range of species presently missing.
The tree box filters will be placed at the terminus of a number of ditches/storm drains/curb gutters/etc. along various streets west of and perpendicular to Main Street before entering into Goodall Brook through an outfall. These boxes filter runoff through the tree roots and specially engineered soil media before flowing into the brook to filter out some of the harmful pollutants. Tree box filters of this type were first tried in 2011 on Roberts Street in a volunteer/donor enabled project lead by the Sanford Department of Public Works and the Bauneg Beg Lake Association. These filters were later upgraded in 2018 and enhanced by the installation of a bio-filtration system designed to accommodate the runoff from the Benton Park/Goodall Park parking lot under the first phase of the grant, also funded in part by EPA under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.
The grant will also allow the continuation of water sampling and testing to monitor the progress of the restoration efforts. The sampling work is being conducted by Sanford High School student and faculty volunteers with laboratory services being provided by the Sanford Sewerage District.
The phase I grant was awarded in 2016 and ran through 2018, following a 2004 assessment by DEP that determined Goodall Brook did not meet its Class B aquatic life criteria. As a result, Maine DEP listed Goodall Brook as impaired on its 2012 303(d) list. Subsequent monitoring also indicated that the Brook did not meet applicable criteria for dissolved oxygen or bacteria concentrations. A series of studies on the Brook were conducted in 2004, 2007, & 2009 to identify problems and propose mitigations, leading up the City’s first grant application in 2016. The current phase of the grant was awarded in April of 2020 and is expected to end in March of 2022.
The work also benefits the downstream water quality of the Great Works River and Bauneg Beg Lake, through which it flows, which has suffered in recent times from high phosphorus concentrations and low dissolved oxygen amounts.
The current grant is being managed for the City by the York County Soil & Water Conservation District under the leadership of Mindee Goodrum. A Steering Committee is in place to oversee and facilitate the grant projects and includes the following members: Bauneg Beg Lake resident Dana Peterson (Committee Chair), Director of Planning and Development, Beth Della Valle, Director of Public Works, Matt Hill, Assistant City Engineer, Mike Casserly, Sanford Sewerage Superintendent, Andre Brousseau, Sanford High teacher, Beth Marass, and DEP Environmental Specialist Addie Halligan. For more information contact Mindee at email@example.com.