FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Town of Rye
TOWN OF RYE PET WASTE SIGNANGE & CATCH BASIN STENCILING PART OF PUBLIC AWARNESS CAMPAIGN TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY
(August 3, 2017)
Ongoing water quality monitoring conducted by the Town of Rye and NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) has shown elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria at multiple locations in Parsons Creek, which is listed by the State as impaired for primary and secondary contact recreation. Fecal indicator bacteria are used to detect fecal contamination and the pathogens associated with fecal matter in surface waters. Previous studies found a significant correlation between elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria and the probability of gastrointestinal illness in swimmers. As such, fecal contamination in Parsons Creek and nearby beaches generates a significant threat to water quality, public health, and the local economy of Rye.
The Town of Rye has been working with NHDES and FB Environmental Associates (FBE) since 2008 to address possible sources of fecal contamination to Parsons Creek and nearby beaches. The Parsons Creek Watershed Based Plan (2011) presented results from source modeling, water quality sampling, and watershed surveys, all of which indicated that the two largest sources of fecal contamination were from developed area runoff (including pet waste) and malfunctioning septic systems. As part of Phase II for the implementation of the Parsons Creek Watershed Based Plan, the Town of Rye developed a septic system maintenance ordinance, carried out a public outreach campaign, and continued annual water quality monitoring and investigation. Funding for Phase II was provided in part by a Watershed Assistance Grant from the NHDES with Clean
Water Act Section 319 funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To closeout Phase II, the Town of Rye will be posting pet waste signage that states “Dog Waste is Litter; Subject to $1000 fine” along Marsh Road, Wallis Road, Brackett Road, and Parsons Road and at beach parking lots. The Town of Rye kindly asks residents and visitors to pick up after their pets by disposing of bagged pet waste in the trash or flushing unbagged pet waste down the toilet. Any pet waste left on lawns, roads, or parking lots can be easily washed off to surface waters, making our rivers and beaches unsuitable for swimming and other recreational opportunities. Informational brochures on proper pet waste management can be found at the Department of Public Works, the Town Hall, and the public library.
The Town of Rye will also be stenciling catch basins within the Parsons Creek watershed to remind residents and visitors that stormwater systems are directly connected to our surface waters. Any chemicals, waste, or other harmful pollutants that are dumped in or washed to storm drains can make their way to our rivers and beaches and can become a health risk, especially to vulnerable populations like children and elderly.
We appreciate your effort to make our local waterways and beaches safe for all to enjoy!