Up to 150 Volunteers to Test Casco Bay Water Quality This Weekend

Munjoy Hill - Some 150 people are expected to take part in water sampling on Casco Bay this week, and they're all friends.

Beginning around 10a.m Sunday, 130-150 people are expected to begin taking water samples from the bay in an effort to test the levels of nitrogen in the water, according to Friends of Casco Bay, a non-profit group based in South Portland. The organization is referring to the effort as a "water sampling flash mob" taking place along the Fore River and Portland Harbor. The effort is a partnership between Friends of Casco Bay, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the City of South Portland according to a press released issued by 'Friends' late Wednesday.

"This community event reminds people that the Bay belongs to all os us." said the group's Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell. "We hope the efforts of these volunteers will shine the public spotlight on an issue too few understand; nitrogen pollution."

According to FoCB, nitrogen is one of the dominant nutrients responsible for the heavy amounts of algae-like sludge forming along the Florida coast. Excess nitrogen can come from raw sewage, stormwater runoff and from air pollution, according to the organization.

Approximately seventy collectors will be taking part from boats, including Munjoy Hill-based Portland Paddle's Zack Anchors. Anchors' business offers sea kayak and paddle board rentals and guided trips around Casco Bay and has often supported cleanup and sampling efforts. Other volunteers will take part along the shorelines of the Fore River, from the Eastern Trail in Portland to South Portland's Bug Light Park.