It's time for a change in the Groton Water Commission. We need an individual who will bring constructive, honest, straightforward perspective to the Water Commission and work hard to serve the entire constituency. Below is a case in point...

Baddacook Pond is Groton's largest natural pond and a treasured environmental resource. It is also a popular recreational resource for fishing, boating and swimming. Tragically, 35 acres (45 percent) of the pond are infested with invasive, nonnative weeds. Environmental restoration is required or we will lose Baddacook.

These weeds also present a danger. The Department of Conservation and Recreation warns of drowning by entanglement. Sadly, there was an example of this in Framingham about five years ago. Also, the weed mats are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can carry West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

With the gravity of the problem clearly understood, the Water Commissioners voted unanimously not to allow the Fluridone herbicide treatment of Baddacook Pond because it views Fluridone as a contaminant which does not belong in drinking water. Fluridone is EPA and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection approved for use directly in potable waters supplies with no restrictions on drinking, swimming or fishing. It is highly effective against the two types of invasive weeds in Baddacook.

The commission has documentation from the DEP and the Fluridone manufacturer stating that Fluridone is not known to migrate to wells, such as Baddacook (50 feet from the pond). The commission also has actual well test results that supports this. Even more to the point, the Fluridone treatment is nontoxic. There would be no public safety hazard even in the incredibly unlikely event that it did migrate. Any claim of contamination is more fear mongering than fact. Lost Lake and Knops Pond had the same treatment last year and it was a complete success.

There was also a statement that the DEP supported the decision not to allow the Fluridone treatment. Again, the commission has documentation that Littleton and Foxboro both received DEP approval to treat in their Zone 1. In addition, they have documentation from the DEP stating that the DEP will typically support town's decision, either way. I find this statement to be disingenuous.

Finally, the statement that "Water Rate Payers would derive no benefit by the application of this pesticide to the water." The Water Commission's constituents are the voters of this town, not just the ratepayer. Any Water Commissioner that we elect is certainly responsible for the safety of our public water. However, they must also embrace broader policy, safety and environmental issues for the good of the town. I am not seeing this from the incumbent. From what I know of Josh Degen, he would be the agent for change that we need. He'll get my vote.

James Luening

Groton