St. John Valley

St. Agatha DEP violations resolved

ST. AGATHA, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection released its July report in which the group states that the violations in St. Agatha were resolved and the case has been closed.

In 2016, St. Agatha submitted a permit and installed a public docking system to access Long Lake. Environmental specialist for the Maine DEP, Scott Belair, was the case manager for the issue and said the system for docking worked well, but due to wet conditions in October 2018, the town had issues removing the dock from the water. 

“St. Agatha’s Public Works Department was finding it difficult to remove the system from the lake with the heavy equipment that is needed to do so,” Belair said.

To improve access and prevent the large equipment from getting stuck, public works placed approximately 4,500 square feet of fill, or washed stone in the area. 

A total of 4,500 square feet of shoreline is now barren after the town of St. Agatha removed stone fill it deposited to make dock installation and removal easier. (Staff Photo|Morgan Mitchell)

Under Maine’s Natural Resources Protection Act, a permit is required for activities such as filling, removing, or displacing soil, vegetation, rock, or other materials within 75 feet of protected natural resources — which Long Lake is considered due to it’s “great pond” status. 

Because the town filled in the shoreline with washed stone without a permit, the Maine DEP issued a Notice of Violation to the town of St. Agatha. 

“After receiving the Notice of Violation, the town immediately began restoration of the area by removing the stone and was able to complete the restoration to the Department’s satisfaction in the spring of 2019 through revegetation as required by DEP,” Belair said. 

In addition to the restoration, a member of the public works department for St. Agatha was also required to attend and become certified through a DEP contractor course and become certified within one year. 

Since then, the town of St. Agatha procured a Natural Resources Protection Act permit to build and install a ramp system to accommodate the payloaders needed to install the dock for the warmer months, and remove for the cooler months. 

Town Manager Aubrie Michaud said the dock will be removed this year on Oct. 15. Michaud explained that when the dock is installed, payloaders bring the dock in pieces to the ramp. Public works employees then float the dock blocks over to the dock shoreline for assembly. For the winter months, they do the same in reverse and float the disassembled dock blocks from the dock, and wade them over to the ramp for the payloader to put away for the season. 

Michaud said that the violation situation was “unfortunate, but it led to something better.” 

Not only did the town get the permit to place the concrete ramp, it also got the go-ahead and paved the way for a walking path to the dock and acquired a pre-cast concrete block anchor to keep the docking system to the shoreline. 

“Now, it looks like a completed project,” Michaud said. 

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