Stormwater Effects on Lake Quannapowitt


In Wakefield, a lot of rain and snow (or “stormwater”) flows directly, untreated, into our town’s bodies of water. Any water that cannot be absorbed where it falls flows into the town’s drainage systems, which travels to our streams and wetlands, such as Lake Quannapowitt, Mill River, Saugus River, Mystic River, Reedy Meadow, Crystal Lake and many others. And if that water is carrying pollutants, our waterways become polluted.

What can citizens do to keep stormwater as clean as possible?

Stormwater runoff diagram

The stormwater that flows from our properties picks up pollutants along the way, like motor oil, antifreeze, road salt, fertilizers, pesticides, car wash soap, pet waste, and litter. That means there are lots of ways we can make a difference!

🌻 Reduce your fertilizer use.

Fertilizer is the top reason Lake Q turns green from algae blooms in the summer. Fertilizer applied to turf grass and gardens runs off into waterways and winds up fertilizing bacteria in the Lake. Stopping or reducing fertilizer use is an easy and effective way to lower your impact.

💩 Bag your animal waste.

Both near the Lake or any other waterbodies and anywhere around town. Friends of Lake Quannapowitt supplies doggie bags at three locations on the lake.

🌱 Reduce your turf grass with pollinator gardens filled with native plants.

Turf grass roots are only several inches deep, whereas native plants, shrubs, and trees have extensive root systems that help rainwater seep down into the ground and replenish our water table, rather than washing off our grassy lawns and into our waterways.

🪣 Try out the town’s rain barrel program to collect rainwater from your roof.

Using rain barrels to water your gardens and lawn can lower your water bill, too! The Town’s annual rain barrel program is one of their most popular initiatives of the year. Residents can purchase a Great American Rain Barrel for the discounted price of $89. Or use any rain barrel you would like – as long as it captures rain water and stops it from running off into our watershed, it’s working!

🏡 Pave differently.

If you’re constructing patios, driveways, sidewalks, and other traditionally hard surfaces, consider permeable surfaces like stones and permeable pavers to stop stormwater runoff before it happens.

The Town of Wakefield website has a long list of resources for residents who want to keep our local water ecosystems healthy!

Photo courtesy of Greg Anderson.

Categories: , ,