Threats to Water Quality

Septic Systems

Though much of the Ogunquit River watershed is on public sewer - particularly in the developed areas near the beaches - a large portion of the watershed relies on septic systems. A septic system database was created by FB Environmental for the Town of Ogunquit to facilitate municipal management of septic systems by ranking systems according to their risk of pollution to Ogunquit's waterways. This database includes all properties within the Ogunquit River watershed and will help Town departments ensure that septic systems are properly maintained and will serve as a starting point for further action. Recommended next steps include filling in data gaps by identifying unknown parcels and considering ongoing septic system maintenance and inspection program at the municipal level.

View the Ogunquit Septic Memo 2015 Ogunquit Watershed Database (PDF).

Ogunquit Conservation Commission and Canine Detection

In August 2012, the Ogunquit Conservation Commission sponsored and assisted FB Environmental and Environmental Canine Services in a day of canine detection of human sources of bacteria in the environment. Two trained canines (each with a different detection limit) were used alongside traditional bacteria tests to better determine where wastewater was present in surface waters. As a result of the Canine Detection Study, multiple tributaries to the Ogunquit River were identified as having high counts of bacteria and the presence of human wastewater.

View the Canine Detection in Action by Fosters Daily Democrat.

View the Ogunquit Bacteria Source Tracking 2012 (PDF).

View the Septic Systems: How They Work and How to Keep Them Working website.

View the Maintaining Your Septic System: Special Considerations for Shoreline Property Owners website.

Sewer & Stormwater Cross-Connections

Potential cross-connections between the sewer lines and storm water infrastructure are another potential source of bacteria to the Ogunquit River. In the 2012 Canine Detection study conducted by FB Environmental, one actual catch basin was sampled and tested positive for the presence of human wastewater. Also, the outdoor showers at the public restrooms at the Ogunquit Public Beach are known to be tied directly into the storm water infrastructure. The Town is currently working to correct this and to discover any other possible cross-connections from the restrooms.

View the Smoke Test Results (PDF).

View the Maine Storm Water Program.

Pet Waste

Though pets are banned from Ogunquit's public beaches from April 1st to September 30th, there are many locations throughout the watershed that allow pets. In the 2012 Canine Detection study conducted by FB Environmental, three tributaries had high bacteria concentrations but did not have any indication of human wastewater, indicating other sources such as pet waste or wildlife.

View the Pet Waste Disposal website.