Water Shed Protection

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Source Water Phosphorus Reduction Feasibility Plan- #15-033


Feasiblity Study 5 of 5 

The goal of the Newport Water Division’s  Source Water Phosphorus Reduction Feasibility Study was  to identify and quantify sources of nutrients, Phosphorus (P), to two (2) of the nine water supply reservoirs  and to assess, recommend and prioritize actions to reduce contribution or “loading” of nutrients. The two reservoirs which are addressed in the study are St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth and Watson Reservoir in Little Compton. The study was conducted due to recognition that elevated nutrient inputs to the two subject water supply reservoirs have negatively impacted the quality of the water entering the water treatment plants. The elevated nutrient loadings are also creating conditions that support cyanobacteria blooms in the water supply reservoirs.

 The Study consisted of three phases:Feasiblity Study 4 of 5

  • Documentation of existing conditions in the reservoirs and the watersheds
  • Identification of management strategies to control phosphorus loading
  • Development of a plan to implement the recommended management strategies.  

In addition to identifying nutrient reduction strategies for the St Mary’s Pond and Watson Reservoir watersheds, the management measures presented in the Implementation Plan are widely applicable to  the watersheds of all Newport Water’s water supply reservoirs. 

The study is available here  Source Water Phosphorus Reduction Feasibility Plan June 30, 2016 

Representatives from the Aquidneck Land Trust, the Sakonnet Preservation Association, the R.I. Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Town of Portsmouth participated in the stakeholder group that assisted to identify current watershed conditions and prioritize management practices. 

The funding for the Study is from the Newport Water System rate payers and a 2014 grant received from the USEPA to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) in partnership with the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.