Falmouth residents will have a chance to weigh in next week on what measures the town should to improve water quality in Mussel Cove and Hobbs Brook.

A recent analysis showed that the cove and brook do not meet state Department of Environmental Protection standards for healthy water, and that Webes Creek and Norton Brook also could be impaired if action is not taken.

Contributing to the problem are low stream flows between rainy days, erosion of the stream bed and pollutants such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons, according to the DEP. Future stressors could be chloride toxicity in the water, which is a result of salt used on driveways and sidewalks.

“There’s certain standards that the (DEP) looks for,” Town Engineer Justin Early said, including “critters” fish need to survive.

The DEP also looks at oxygen levels, temperature and salt content.

The test results were analyzed by Attainable: Sustainable Solutions, which said the town needs to focus on areas that drain into Casco Bay and create a water management plan.


A public will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, via Zoom; the link is at falmouthme.org.

Measures could include replacing a culvert on Mast Road near Highland Lake that eroded.

The town plans to conduct pesticide and fertilizer testing this spring to determine how prevalent those pollutants are. The town council will vote April 6 on funding the tests.

Falmouth Sustainability Coordinator Ashley Krulik said it’s important to be proactive before an adverse situation progresses. Webes Creek and Norton Brook are near Falmouth’s Route 1 corridor, where there is ongoing development, and if they become impaired stricter standards could be put in place.

“(O)nce they get to a point of being impaired, it becomes much harder to restore them,” Krulik said.

This map shows the different water bodies in Falmouth. Numbers 10 and 17, Mussel Cove and Hobbs Brook, are the two that are impaired, according to DEP standards. Contributed / Town of Falmouth

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