Chances are, most people looking to slip their kayaks into Georgica Pond at the access point at the end of Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton Village don’t notice the concrete pipe that leads into a concrete box at the water’s edge.
The pipe is where excess runoff collected along the entire length of Cove Hollow Road, from Route 114, across Route 27, and past Georgica Road, is released into the pond at Georgica Cove, which extends like a pinky finger eastward and is connected to the main body of the pond by a narrow channel.
On Friday morning, August 3, village officials, including Mayor Paul Rickenbach and East Hampton Village Trustees Richard Lawler, Arthur Graham, and Rosemary Brown, along with representatives of the East Hampton Town Trustees, the Village Preservation Society, and the Friends of Georgica Pond gathered at the pipe to announce that small blue metal badges emblazoned with a gray salamander that read “No Dumping, Drains to Wetlands” will be placed on storm drains across the village to raise awareness about what happens when fertilizers, dog feces, motor oil, and other contaminants are disposed of improperly.
For decades, Georgica Cove has received the polluted runoff that overruns dry wells along Cove Hollow Road. Earlier this year, the village, working with East Hampton Town, began a project that involves surveying the dry wells along the 6000-foot length of the road. Later, additional drywells and filters will be installed in catch basins to both reduce the amount of runoff reaching the pond and clean the water that does eventually make it there.
It’s important because contaminants like nitrogen — the major component in lawn fertilizers — lead to outbreaks of harmful algae that choke off ponds.
At Friday’s brief gathering, Michael Booker, an employee of the village’s Department of Public Works, displayed one of the filters that are installed in catch basins as a first line of defense. The filters cost about $150 and are replaced annually when the village cleans out the built-up sediments in catch basins.
Booker said Cove Hollow Road is not the only area being targeted. The village is also taking steps to reduce harmful runoff into Town Pond and around Hook Mill, a natural swale leading all the way from Three Mile Harbor to Hook Pond.