10 Million Pounds of Sludge from New York and New Jersey*

Posted on August 29, 2010


If you want to read more about Spring Pond and get opinion on the big box development that threatens it, go to Spring Pond Woods. There are a lot of great pictures and maps there, and they are working on a walking tour of the area. I also have a few photos of the woods and Camp Lion, but little compared to the vast archive at Spring Pond Woods.

Watersheds shed water in torrents, trickles, streams, brooks and rivers where it gathers at the bottom of the bowl. There are watersheds within watersheds, perhaps the largest are our oceans. An underground spring feeds Spring Pond, but it is also at the bottom of a small watershed. I can plainly see this as I walk along the perimeter, looking up to the hills and down to the water. As the many ponds in Lynn Woods do for Lynn, Spring Pond serves as a drinking water supply for the town of Peabody.

If the past is any indicator of the future, this next image and story it contains are all the more mind-boggling:

As recently as 2006, sludge from a water treatment plant made its way into Spring Pond.

According to the Salem News, “Litigation involving the South Essex Sewerage District, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency … prevented the city from discharging sludge through the sewer system. Without sewer access, the city chose to continually overload two lagoons at the plant, which led to leakage into the pond.” The state mandated cleanup cost the city $393,000.

What were they thinking?

*Reference courtesy of the Pixies.