TOWN OF ARLINGTON VISION 2020 ENVIRONMENT TASK GROUP
RESERVOIR COMMITTEE
February 26, 2001  Meeting Notes

 

In attendance: Gene Benson, Rich Bento, Hugh Budd, Margaret Fitzgerald, Cathy Garnett, Bryan Hasbrouck, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Ann LeRoyer, Leslie Mayer, Sharon Stafford, Susan Wheelock.

The meeting was facilitated by Gene Benson. The minutes are by Elizabeth Karpati.

Rich Bento’s report to Town Manager:

  • Consultants dug some test pits 8-10 ft. deep and made deep narrow borings which were capped for possible later use as test wells. They didn’t find the usual impermeable clay core in the dam but may have just missed it – the dam has held water for over a century.
  • Consultants have provided a large topographic map (contour lines), labeled "Draft." It doesn’t show the locations of the test pits and borings, and the Arlington/Lexington border may not be shown in the right place. (It also has the labeling of Arlington and Lexington reversed!)
  • They need to dig more test pits to determine how much of the wide area is "unsuitable material" that doesn’t contribute to the strength of the dam – probably coal ash, which the Town dumped at Menotomy Rocks Park in the 20’s and 30’s and may have dumped at the Res as well. Ash is not classified as hazardous but cannot be used as "clean fill" if removed from the Res. If stable enough, it could be left there and landscaped with shallow-rooted plants (if that is approved by DEM).
  • Could this "unsuitable material" be stabilized, e.g. with riprap, so that it can serve as part of the dam? When the gate broke last summer, there was erosion in this area in the short time before the gate could be repaired.
  • The low-level emergency outflow pipe into Mill Brook needs to be inspected – the valve may be stuck.
  • The area of drainage into the Res turned out to be about square mile larger than originally thought, but this does not change the flow rate calculations in the Weston & Sampson study significantly.

Other discussion:

  • At this point we need to involve Lexington, but how to start? Letter to Lexington ConCom, inviting them to a joint meeting with Arlington ConCom, and/or to public meeting on Res issues? Also contact the Lexington Selectmen, or let the Lex. ConCom inform them? Or let the communication go from Town Manager to Town Manager? Rich Bento will talk to Mr. Farrington about this.
  • DEP cannot issue permits until the MEPA process is completed, if one is required. But work on Res may not meet criteria for requiring a full environmental impact review – if it does, that will be expensive. (MEPA = Mass. Environmental Policy Act; office under Secretary Durand, director lives in Arlington.)
  • Wetlands could dry out if water is kept at 153 level and then there is a drought.
  • Should there be a master plan for the whole Res area, not just the dam? E.g. a plan to allow walking all around the Res without having to go out on the street? What about parking – it is used by both swimmers and walkers. Fixing the beach berm is within the DPW’s jurisdiction but a master plan may not be – one should probably be developed in conjunction with Parks & Rec. Start with a conceptual plan. Money may be easier to raise if there is already a plan.
  • Landscape design will be done by a subcontractor of Weston & Sampson. The contract with W&S is for everything through the final engineering design, with landscaping separate. The landscape architect will come to the next Res meeting.
  • The public meeting could be in about 6 weeks, but that would conflict with the Special Town Meeting on April 9, 11, 18. Preliminary designs should be available in mid-April. Have public meeting on Tuesday, May 22 -- announce at Town Meeting.
  • For Earth Day have a walk around the Res – more than just a bird walk – or have two different walks, a.m./p.m. or Sat./Sun. Bryan could do one. Have a handout with a map. Plan details at next meeting.

NEXT MEETINGS: Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.

 

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