Maine’s lakes are the crown jewels of its landscape and perhaps the most valued economic resource out of its natural resources. Maine lakes drain 50 percent of its landscape. There are roughly 6,000 lakes in Maine but about half are over 10 acres and in the public domain. There are only 11 lakes over 10,000 acres, so most are in the 1,000-acre class and below.

We value these waters in many ways, as fishers, waterfowlers, guides, water crafters and, mostly, shoreline property owners. As landowners we have the potential of making significant changes to the shoreline and thus impacting water quality. As the former chief biologist for the Department of Environmental Protection and founder of the lakes program, I saw the changes and impact to lake water quality from landowners. When the septic tank program was enacted to require updates for cottages that were being converted from seasonal use to year-round homes, I saw this as a necessary step to protect Maine lake water quality for the future.

Now we have progressed in time to see old homes being sold on a more frequent basis for year-round occupancy, and we must now see that all of these meet standards with regard to their septic tanks in order to protect our lakes. If we do not take these steps, it will result in very expensive lake rehabilitation, such as what we have seen at East Pond of the Belgrade Lakes in 2018.

The Maine Legislature must take the next step to pass this new initiative concerning septic tanks. I urge the readers to contact their respective legislators and ask them to pass L.D. 216.

 

Matthew Scott

Belgrade

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