AUBURN — Lake Auburn watershed officials recommend stronger septic tank rules, better pollution ordinances and stricter land use requirements to keep water quality as high as possible, according to a 10-year master plan.
The plan also recommends closing a paved turnout along Route 4 along the eastern side of Lake Auburn, replacing it with landscaping and vegetation.
"The issue that we've had in the past is with people in RVs parking in that turnout over night," said John Storer, superintendent for the Auburn water and sewer districts. "That's kind of a concern, when you have that kind of potential sources of pollution right next to the water all night."
Instead, Storer said the water district could set aside space and picnic tables near the boat launch. The launch is behind an automatic gate that closes access at sunset.
"So that may be one way of limiting overnight access but still providing for some other popular uses," Storer said.
The Lake Auburn watershed includes 9,651 acres ranging from South Hill Road in Buckfield south past Mount Auburn Avenue. It includes several ponds and streams in the area.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency gave the cities a filtration waiver in 1991, allowing them to avoid having to build a facility to filter drinking water. The cities formed the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission in 1993 to keep quality up and avoid having to build a filtration system.
Current members include representatives from the city of Lewiston, the Auburn Water District and the towns of Turner, Hebron, Buckfield and Minot.
The master plan is designed to show water quality officials how to protect Lake Auburn's water quality. The lake is the drinking water source for both Lewiston and Auburn.
Water currently goes through an ultraviolet treatment facility as it comes out of the lake, and is then treated with chlorine and ammonia as it is piped to Twin Cities water customers.
The plan identifies 15 recommendations for the next 10 years. Those include better education about water quality and continuing water quality testing and a program designed to keep gulls off the lake.
Several recommendations look at drainage issues, from paved lots and streets, residential septic tank systems and municipal storm sewers. Pollutants from those systems can flow into streams in the watershed, making their way to Lake Auburn.
It calls for promoting landscaped development that limits runoff and continuing to purchase land in the watershed to protect them from development.