Water chestnut plant invades Luther Reservoir in Attleboro | Local News


The recent dousing from remnants of Hurricane Ida has caused problems across the area, but in Attleboro there are some other water issues.

Luther Pond Reservoir, one of the city’s drinking water sources, is being taken over by the water chestnut plant.

“The dense growth of water chestnut can effectively choke a water body, making boating, fishing and swimming nearly impossible,” according to a post on its website.

And it has other unattractive attributes. According to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the plant can “deplete the available oxygen in the water, and the resulting low oxygen condition (anoxia) can lead to fish kills and harm other aquatic organisms.”

In addition, the sharp (half-inch) barbs on the plant can penetrate shoes with leather soles and pose a hazard to swimmers and beach visitors.

Water Superintendent Kourtney Wunschel said the problem was brought to her attention earlier this summer.

She said as far as she knows it’s the first time the city’s water system has been affected by the troublesome plant.

“It’s nothing we can pull out by hand without making it worse,” she said, noting that killing the weed needs to be done before it blooms, otherwise there’s danger that it will spread to Orr’s Pond or possibly beyond.

Since it has already bloomed, the problem will remain for the time being.

“We’re kind of stuck with it because of the time of the year,” Wunschel said.

In the interim, decisions will be made about how to rid the pond of the weed and the work will be done in the spring.

Wunschel said the plant can be picked out of the water or killed chemically.

She’s consulting with experts to help with the decision-making process.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.



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