Concord – September 20, 2008 – Non-source point pollution from runoff and improperly maintained septic systems topped the list in the New Hampshire Lakes Association’s (NHLA) 2008 survey of lake issues.
The survey, conducted annually by the non-profit group, takes the pulse of lake property owner associations around the state and helps set the organization’s legislative agenda. Respondents are asked to rank issues on a six-point scale from Most Important to Not as Important.
Non-source point pollution is a critical issue for lakes. As opposed to point source pollution, such as industrial discharges into water bodies, non-point pollutants are more or less invisible to lake monitors until they appear in water tests.
Runoff is one of the most common sources of non-point source pollution, including runoff from roadways, which can include solvents and road salt, and runoff from lawns where fertilizers and pesticides can be flushed into a lake.
Failed and improperly maintained septic systems are also a cause of non-point source pollution. This year NHLA successfully sponsored a new law requiring that failed lake property septic systems be reported to state and local officials at the time of sale, plugging a long-standing loophole.
Invasive weeds and exotic organisms, such as zebra mussels, were ranked second in the survey, coming in just two-tenths of a rating point behind non-point source pollution. NHLA is the driving force behind the annual New Hampshire Lake Host program, which operates locally at the Pine River and Pequawket Trail public boat ramps.
Dangerous boat speeds and jet ski operations, point source pollution and ground and surface water extraction rounded out the top five issues in the survey.