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A new report on water quality in and around Manhasset Bay calls pollution in Baxter Pond the worst in the area. A preliminary draft of the Manhasset Bay Water Quality Improvement Plan says the pond, located in Baxter Pond Park in the center of Port Washington, has "extremely high" background coliform/bacteria levels. "The highest of any water body in the watershed."

The report, prepared for the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, a consortium of 13 municipalities around the bay, blames a "large population of waterfowl," storm-drain run-off, and erosion for the pollution, it was revealed at a Nov. 3 meeting of the Baxter Estates Board of Trustees.

The bacteria levels are so high that "rain events slightly reduce the levels of bacteria," the report says. Rain run-off at other bodies of water often increases pollution.

Though it is technically Nassau County park land, renovation of the heavily silted pond and surrounding park has been a project for Baxter Estate trustees and residents, as well as residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. The county recently replaced the iron fencing around the park. Residents has instituted a program of installing flowers and other plantings in the area. Various civic groups and Baxter residents have sponsored clean-up campaigns in recent years.

The report, prepared by an engineering consulting firm from Woodbury, calls for "excavating the sediment that have accumulated" in the pond, "planting a vegetative access barrier around the perimeter of the pond to keep waterfowl out of the water," and "installing spray fountains to discourage waterfowl from entering the pond," as well as stabilizing the stream and erosion areas that flow into the pond. The proposed project is to include a feasibility analysis, conceptual engineering, design and specifications, and bidding and construction measures.

Baxter trustees have been pressuring county park officials for years to dredge the pond. It is not clear how the new report affects county plans.

"We're having a meeting [Nov. 5] with Nassau County Legislator Barbara Johnson," said Baxter Trustee and Public Works Commissioner Renee Greenspan. "I've gotten no further information from the county. They're supposed to do something by winter."

Two seasonal issues were discussed at the board meeting.

Baxter Estate residents can place leaves in the gutter for removal by the village on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays through Dec. 9. After that, all leaves must be bagged for pick-up by regular garbage haulers. officials asked residents not to obstruct traffic with huge piles in the roadway.

"Don't pile them too far into the street," said Trustee Greenspan.

Postcards regarding leaf disposal have gone out to all Baxter residents.

On snow removal, Mayor Leslie Read reminded residents and shopkeepers that sidewalks should be kept clear, but Greenspan said snow shoveled from a driveway shouldn't be deposited in the street.

"Snow should not be pushed into the street," she said. "It can obstruct traffic and cause a hazard. It should be piled on the grass or on the property."

The construction of a new hardware store on the vacant lot at Main and High Streets seems to be inching along. The Baxter Estates board OK'd a building permit for the site at the Nov. 3 meeting. But because Shields has not yet submitted proper insurance certificates to the village, the permit will be on a conditional basis.

"The permit [is] conditional, subject to them giving us the name of the insurer, before construction starts," said Village Attorney John Farrell, Jr.

Village officials announced a change in next month's Board of Trustees meeting. Because of a scheduling conflict, the regular first Tuesday of the month meeting will be postponed to Dec. 8, 8:30 p.m. at Village Hall in the NatWest Bank building on Shore Rd.

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