Mirror Lake water level low

By Stephanie Grinnell | Nov 06, 2013
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell The water level of Mirror Lake as of Nov. 6 is low.

Rockport — Those traveling Route 17 through Rockport may have noticed a drop in the water level of Mirror Lake but, according to Maine Water Co., there is no need for concern.

Maine Water Co. Chief Plant Operator Brian J. Moody said the water level appears low because water is usually pumped into Mirror Lake from Grassy Pond during summer months to help meet demand. This year, the company has not yet begun pumping water between the bodies of water.

"Yes, it does look like Mirror Lake has dropped drastically in the last several weeks, but our production has not increased. The lake is now in the bottom part of the bowl where 1 inch of water level drop exposes 1 foot of shore," Moody said in an email.

Mirror Lake covers 112 acres and is 66-feet deep, according to lakesofmaine.org. A map shows depths as shallow as 3 feet near the Route 17 shore.

Moody said system upgrades and repairs to leaking pipes have taken place recently, leading to use of less water than in years past.

This is the latest in the season the company has waited to start the pump at Grassy Pond, Moody said, noting the delay will save the company some electrical costs.

Moody recalled the pipe connecting Mirror Lake and Grassy Pond was installed in the late 1800s.

Maine Water has several sources of water in Camden and Rockport, as well as sites throughout the state. The company is a public water utility and serves more than 32,000 customers (approximately 80,000 residents) throughout the state of Maine, according to its website.

The original name of Mirror Lake, located at the southern base of Mt. Hosmer, was Oyster River Pond; the Oyster River rises in the lake and flows into the St. George’s River in Warren, according to Penobscot Marine Museum archives. The History of Camden and Rockport, Maine, published in 1907, described Mirror Lake in the late 1800s as having “water of extraordinary purity.” With the founding of the Camden and Rockland Water Company in the 1880s, it became the water supply for Camden and Rockport as well as most of Rockland and Thomaston. Camden and Rockland Water Co. is now Maine Water Co.

According to Philip Conkling’s book, "Where the Mountains Meet the Sea," “Camden’s water used to come from Megunticook River, but as the river became more industrialized and therefore contaminated, a new source was found in the pure waters of Mirror Lake, which had not been developed in order to preserve the purity and clarity of the water. Three years were spent laying cast iron piping, and water reached Rockport from the lake for the first time on June 16, 1887, and Camden one day later. In 1901 a standpipe was erected on the side of Mt. Battie to hold 575,000 gallons and improve water delivery.”

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