WAKEFIELD — The Friends of Lake Quannapowitt will honor longtime Wakefield Town Engineer Michael Collins with its 2014 “Gertrude Spaulding Award” at the FOLQ Annual Breakfast on Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Bear Hill Country Club.

FOLQ board member Jim Scott was at last night’s Conservation Commission meeting to inform the commissioners of the award being given to Collins and to drop off tickets to the event. Boards like the Conservation Commission, The Board of Appeals, the Planning Board, the Selectmen and others rely heavily on the Town Engineer’s expertise on matters related to the Lake, watershed areas, drainage, storm water runoff and other matters.

The award is named for the late Gertrude M. Spaulding (1913-2000), a founding member of FOLQ and a tireless advocate for the Lake and for the cause of conservation. The annual award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting public awareness and providing long-term protection and enhancement of Lake Quannapowitt and its surrounding public lands.

Scott reminded the ConCom that Collins was appointed by the Board of Selectmen to chair the Lake Quannapowitt Water Quality Study Committee, which is currently looking at ways to address the overall health of the Lake with special attention to the recurring blue-green algae problem.

“We all know the good job that Mike Collins has done for the whole town of Wakefield and the Lake for years,” Scott said.

The FOLQ annual breakfast runs from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Bear Hill Country Club on North Street in Stoneham. Tickets are $15. Contact FOLQ at or phone 781-979-2400.


Commissioners discussed a draft report presented by member Frank Calandra analyzing several past studies of the Lake’s water quality. The Commission has been attempting to determine how close the Lake currently is to being safe for swimming and has begun by looking at data from past studies.

The ConCom discussed contamination from the former coal gasification plant located on North Avenue on the current site of the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department. The process used produced a coal tar by-product that was stored in underground wells and eventually found its way into the Lake bottom. Commissioners also discussed chemical treatments used by the town in the past to control aquatic weeds, including arsenic compounds and copper sulfate.

Calandra said that some of the studies he found only looked at the coal tar by-products. Several years ago contaminated sediment was removed from an area of Hartshorne Cove and that area was capped with a layer of sand.

Calandra said that while the Lake and sediment might now test as safe for the petroleum contaminants, the arsenic levels might be a different matter.


Commissioners looked at a town map prepared by Conservation Agent Rebecca Davis with areas of town-owned land designated. The ConCom has expressed an interest in getting parcels with potential conservation value under its jurisdiction. Members of the Commission may begin visiting some of these sites as soon as this weekend to get a better idea of their potential as conservation land.


All three of the hearings scheduled before the Commission last night were postponed and continued to the Wednesday, Nov. 20 meeting at the request of the petitioners.