Archive for Environment

Restoring Middle Farms Pond

Middle Farms Pond has become contaminated with elevated levels of nitrates, turbidity, bacteria and algae. Although the causes are not yet clear, human activities, including potential septic leeching and fertilizer run-off, as well as boating, fishing and swimming are all potential contributing factors.

The risks are serious. For example, nitrates can cause algae blooms. While not all algae blooms are toxic, some produce a type of toxin called microcystis that can cause serious liver damage under certain conditions.

Fishers Island Water Works Corporation owns the pond and is responsible for monitoring its quality. Under the Fishers Island Water Protection Standards adopted by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in 1997, we are also responsible for monitoring compliance with land use restriction that apply to the surrounding primary watershed.

To start the process of restoring the health of the pond, we are placing it off limits to the public. Various information and warning notices will be posted around the pond.

The absence of human activity will facilitate testing the pond water to identify the causes of contamination and target efforts to eliminate them. We have already sent notices to surrounding landowners, requesting their help in identifying potential sources of contamination in the watershed, particularly on ground sloping toward the pond and any level areas within150 yards of the shore. Fertilizers, pesticides, septic tanks and fuel storage tanks are among the possible hazards. Earlier this year we welded shut an access point where tank trucks were tapping into the pond with potentially contaminated hoses.

Closing Middle Farms Pond to boating will address another threat: the potential introduction of the invasive Zebra mussel. This fingernail-size mussel can attach itself to a boat or paddleboard that is used in another body of water and then used in Middle Farms Pond. There would be no way to eradicate the bivalve from the pond once that happens.

By removing sources of contamination and avoiding a mussel infestation, the pond could have water that is potable with little filtration within a few years. Although we are moving to produce more water from wells, preserving both Middle Farms and Barlow Ponds as back-up reservoirs is an important part of our strategy for assuring ample water supply despite the uncertainties of climate change. During droughts in the 1960s, for example, water was pumped from Middle Farms Pond to Barlow Pond for filtration and distribution into the island’s water mains.

Everyone’s understanding and cooperation with this initiative will be very much appreciated. We know that Middle Farms Pond has been enjoyed by boaters, fishermen and swimmers. Yet, we strongly believe that conserving this natural resource is part of responsible environmental stewardship and in the best interest of the water supply for the entire island community.Please feel free to contact company President, Chris Finan, or Water Superintendent, Chad Mrowka, at 631-788-7251 with any questions.

Please feel free to contact company President, Chris Finan, or Water Superintendent, Chad Mrowka, at 631-788-7251 with any questions.

Fishers Island Water Works Corporation

October 22, 2017

Middle Farms Pond November 17 Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens

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Tidal Power Feasibility Study Grant Application


On May 15, 2015, the Fishers Island Electric Company filed a proposal with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for a grant to fund a Phase 1 Feasibility Assessment of tidal power generation around Fishers Island, particularly in The Race. NYSERDA, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, is running the NY Prize Community Grid Competition, seeking proposals to develop “microgrids” — local community electrical generation and distribution systems that are resilient in normal operating conditions and during times of electrical grid outages such as hurricanes and winter storms.

The proposed study would assess the technical and economic viability of incorporating tidal energy generation and storage as a clean and predictable electric power source for the island that can operate in both a “grid-connected mode”, sending surplus power off-island, and in “island mode”, powering the island.

The proposal was put together with the help of ORPC Solutions, which has completed similar tidal energy feasibility assessments in Maine and Alaska. It is a subsidiary of Ocean Renewable Power Company LLC, a global leader in hydrokenetic power system technology and project development. The proposal team includes Princeton Power Systems, experts in microgrids, and the University of Connecticut’s Marine Science Program. Frank Bohlen, a life long member of the Fishers Island community and a Professor of Marine Sciences, was key to facilitating UConn’s involvement.

Against a tight deadline, many others from the community helped by providing letters of support for a feasibility study, including the Island Community Board, the Board of Education and Fishers Island School, the Ferry District, the Waste Management District, the Island Health Project, the Fishers Island Conservancy, Fishers Island Development Corporation, Race Rock Garden Co, the Beach Plum and Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, which sources power for Groton Utilities, the island’s main power provider.  Louisa Evans helped get letters of support from Scott Russell, the Town Supervisor for Southold, Al Krupiski, a Suffolk County Legislator, and Anthony Palumbo, New York Assemblyman for the 1st District.

Winning proposals are to be announced by July 1, 2015.


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FI Utility Company 2013 Drinking Water Quality Report

This report is required to be delivered to all residents of our Water Company in compliance with Federal and State regulations with the exception of a monitoring violation that is discussed within. This report is designed to inform you about the quality water and services we deliver to you every day. Our constant goal is to provide you with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. The Fishers Island Water Works Company and its employees are committed to ensuring that you and your family receive the highest quality water. Please note that the information presented in this report is based on 2013 data.

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