Lake Protection Tips

Activities that increase the input of phosphorous and sediment erosion into lakes are not good. However, those that decrease these inputs will greatly help prolong the health of our lake. Listed below are activities that lake residents and others can do to help reduce phosphorous and sediment inputs.

  1. Pump your septic tank every three to five years, or whenever the sludge level exceeds one-third of the tank capacity. If you have an older septic system, annual pumping is recommended to reduce leakage.
  2. Maintain your septic system properly. (Contact the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to obtain several free informational brochures.) Be sure your system is designed to handle the load it receives. A leach field should increase in size whenever the frequency or volume of use increases.
  3. Check your leach field for soft or wet areas or septic smells. Replace faulty systems.
  4. Do not bathe, shampoo or wash boats, pets or other objects in the lake with soap or phosphorous-containing detergents.
  5. Use low or non-phosphate detergent. Or if possible, take your clothes to a laundromat located outside the lake’s drainage area. Click here for information on phosphate-free cleaning products.
  6. Minimize land clearing activities. Revegetate bare areas to minimize erosion to the lake. Roads and paths to the lake should be curved to reduce erosion.
  7. Maintain a buffer zone of natural vegetation along the shore to contain erosion and assimilate nutrients before they reach the lake. Click here to download a DES Factsheet on Vegetation Management for Water Quality
  8. Keep the shore natural. Man-made beaches do not stay and usually are illegal. You must obtain a permit from the State of New Hampshire Wetlands Board in order to put any amount of sand on the shoreline. The water currents and waves will wash away the sand. Algae blooms and increased weed growth will result and critical edge habitat belonging to freshwater clams, mussels and fish breeding will be jeopardized.
  9. Do not fertilize within 25 feet of the lake shore. Only slow release nitrogen fertilizer is allowed within 250 feet to 25 feet of the lake shore. Click here to download a DES factsheet on Proper Lawn Care within the Protected Shoreland
  10. Do not feed ducks or other aquatic animals. The feces of ducks, beavers and other aquatic animals causes increased nutrient levels, as well as e coli bacteria in the water.
  11. Do not burn brush or leaves near the shore. The nitrates remain behind and are washed into the lake during the first rain. Do not dump leaves or grass clippings into the lake or near the shore. They also add nitrates to the water, which increases phosphorus levels.

The preceding Lake Protection Tips were taken from the Environmental Fact Sheet – NHDES Technical Bulletin WSPCD-BB-1989-12, which was produced by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.