No solution to pollution?


“It’s an illusion that the solution to pollution is dilution!” Unknown, but cute.

They came, they conquered but they probably will lose the battle. What I am writing about here? Nothing less than the Highland Lake Association coming before the Windham town councilors during their meeting held on 22 August.

I will admit I am for clean water because I grew up next to the Connecticut River where it borders New Hampshire and Vermont. Raw sewerage poured into the river and it was disgusting. Another river, the Mascoma, reeked of the chemicals that poured into it from mills in Lebanon. I hope that the complaints aired by members of the Highland Lake Association are seriously taken by the Town Council and town staff.

Sadly, I have my doubts on any really meaningful action with results as far as a moratorium to stop any development surrounding Highland Lake. I go back to the fact that Windham for close to a couple of decades has done nothing successful to protect its bodies of water, including brooks and streams. Is Windham really looking to cease development in North Windham to protect the huge aquifer located under it? Windham has far too many streams and other bodies of water that are being watched for increased pollution threats. The Windham Public Works Department had to stop washing vehicles because of its proximity to the Pleasant River. I complained about that over a decade ago and it took that long to stop the runoff from washing those vehicles.

Anyway, I say good luck to that lake association because last Monday night the Windham Planning Board had the development near Highland Lake on its agenda. Since I have a deadline to submit my column before that date I can’t state what did or did not happen. Maybe they would have tabled the item or maybe they didn’t. I hope that I am wrong, but it might be too late to do anything but approve the project if it meets all of the criteria at the time. I would love to say that Windham does everything right but look at the town’s leaf and brush pile. If I am correct, the leaf pile has been growing for over a year. At least the brush pile, for the most part, is being chipped and trucked away. I don’t even care if Windham doesn’t make any money on the deal as long as it is removed.

It will be interesting to see how future discussions develop and if any problems are solved. To get a real answer to the problem will more than likely have to cost the town taxpayers something because research should be done by someone with the right credentials and not just any member of the town staff. I understand at least one councilor lives near Highland Lake, so I wonder if there is a conflict of interest although the town has certainly turned a blind eye to that thought in the past. However if the development is completely legal and meets all of the requirements how can it be stopped?

Natural resources must be protected so I have to make the point that Windham should have formed the Natural Resources Committee many decades ago. That committee could have assisted with determining which projects might have interfered with water quality of any body of water. I blame prior town councilors and town management for that lack of foresight. Sadly so many people abuse what they for a natural resource. I have seen floating beer cans, human feces on boat launches and trash everywhere in the water. It’s not only in Windham, it’s virtually in any place that I have ever fished, even in Virginia and Alabama.

And it’s not only water that can be polluted because I only have about 60 or so feet of road frontage and yet every week I remove at least one or two plastic grocery bags of trash of all types. Most of trash continues to be plastic, Styrofoam and paper products from local fast food establishments located in or around Windham.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham thinks one man’s trash is another man’s problem.