The largest river that flows into Casco Bay is officially protected from new sources of pollution under Maine law! A four-year moratorium on new industrial or wastewater discharges into the Lower Presumpscot River was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Mills on Friday.
The Lower Presumpscot flows from Saccarappa Falls in downtown Westbrook to head of tide along the Portland-Falmouth border. This section of river was historically heavily polluted by untreated industrial discharges. Today it is a thriving urban waterway thanks to years of restoration efforts under the Clean Water Act. Temporarily preventing new discharges into the river – for example, from a new factory or other industry – will protect the Lower Presumpscot’s substantial gains in water quality while a long-term solution is identified to preserve the river’s health.
“The Presumpscot River drains two-thirds of the Casco Bay watershed,” says Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca. “Flowing from pristine headlands through some of Maine’s most densely populated and diverse neighborhoods, this river is intimately tied to the health of Casco Bay, the wildlife it supports, and the people who live here. Protecting the Lower Presumpscot from new discharges over the next four years will help us figure out how to more permanently protect the health of the river.”
If you were one of the many Friends of the Bay who submitted testimony in favor of the moratorium, thank you. The legislators truly heard the importance of the connection between the health of the river and the Bay, strengthening their support for the moratorium. We are also grateful for our partners at Friends of the Presumpscot River and their leadership on this effort. You are all Friends of Casco Bay!
If you want to learn more about the many reasons we supported the moratorium, check out the fact sheet on our website. In short, we believe this bill supports our region’s growing communities, the local economy, and most importantly, the health of the Presumpscot River and Casco Bay.
If you would like to celebrate this clean water victory, we would love for you to join us in Portland on July 13! Click here to learn more and RSVP.