Cleaning Town Pond: How It Was, and Should Be, Done

Bonackers cleaning Town Pond
Bonackers cleaning Town Pond, Photo: D. Rattiner

Driving home from the office late the other night, I came upon an interesting sight at Town Pond in East Hampton.

There was a big commercial truck with the words ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES on the side. In the pond, there were Latino workmen standing in aluminum rowboats with long poles attempting to haul up the clumps of red tide alga that have clogged that body of water. Later that day, the truck and men were gone. The alga was still there. It remains there today.

I spoke to Village Administrator Becky Molinaro about what I had seen, and she said the men had not been successful and she also said the Village has set aside about a million dollars to fight the algae in both Town Pond and Hook Pond. They are trying many approaches, including studies, chemicals and, if they need dredging, it could cost several hundred thousand dollars.

I reminded her of the night 15 years ago when I drove home around three in the morning and found the Bonackers, the local baymen, in waders out in the pond, working with clam rakes to haul gunk up and into peach baskets with inflated inner tubes surrounding them to keep them afloat. Accompanied by black labs, wooden rowboats and portable radios blaring music, they got the Town Pond sparkling clean by morning. And probably for a whole lot less.

The photo accompanying this article was taken that night.

Those were the days.

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