Complain that operation of Dam Causes Trouble Along Yaphank Pond

Middle Island Mail

June 28, 1939

Complain that operation of Dam Causes Trouble Along Yaphank Pond

   A petition complaint filed with the Brookhaven Town board, charging that the sluice gates at the outlet of the lower Yaphank Lake, or Mill pond, opposite the former Anson Hard property, are being improperly operated, has been referred to the Suffolk Highway department for investigation, on the grounds that the gates adjoin a county highway.

    The petition containing 47 signatures, stated, “We residents of Yaphank owning property bordering on the banks of Carmen River, petition you to take steps to have the following conditions corrected.

    “Through improper or irregular operation of the Yaphank eastern sluice gates and incorrect construction thereof, our stream has been reduced to an unsightly weed-laden and scum-covered body of water.  The sluice gates are constructed with a covering of wire screening, without doubt for the purpose of holding all seaweed and waste of every kind within our body of water and thus permitting only the screened water to flow into the body of water beyond the dam.

    “This has been going on for a number of years and we, as a group of property owners , feel that it is unjust the one portion of this stream should be subject to this accumulation of weeds and refuse, and refuse through the closing off of power outlet.  We object to the continuance of this unjust procedure, which is running part of the river.

   “We also desire that the water’s height be maintained at a uniform level, a level which will permit proper use of the water for bathing and row boating.  Often during the summer months, the water is run so low the stream is a mess of exposed seaweed, making the water particularly useless for bating and even for row boating.

   “At other times, it is allowed to become so high that the properties on the north bank are submerged.  Recently this condition prevailed.  It was so high it overran the south bank, which is higher ground than the north bank.  It left a deposit of thick slimy scum, with a bad odor, along the edge of the south bank, and on the north bank not only badly flooded lands but likewise deposited this smelly scum, a condition which is very apt to be detrimental to the health of the community.

    “We understand these control gates were installed some years ago by Anson Hard, who then owned the property to the east of these gates.  The property is now owned by Mrs. Deane, whose caretaker is now in charge of the gate.”


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