MERRIMAC — Police Chief Eric Shears and Fire Chief Larry Fisher report that officials in Merrimac are investigating after a pontoon boat, delivering chemicals to treat Lake Attitash, capsized shortly after entering the lake from the town boat ramp.
Merrimac Police and Fire responded to the town boat ramp at 3:30 p.m. for a report of a capsized boat with two people in the water. Upon arrival, first responders noted that the two parties were out of the water, having been rescued by a second vessel that was with them.
An on-scene investigation determined that two boats were treating the lake for algae when a 30-foot aluminium pontoon boat capsized about 100 yards off the boat ramp.
The boats were being operated by SOLitude Lake Management, a Virginia company with an office in Shrewsbury that specializes in “lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration” according to its website.
SOLitude was treating the lake with aluminium solutions to limit the availability of phosphorus in the lake and reduce nuisance algae blooms. The company had been permitted to be on site since April 17 and was scheduled to finish work by May 3.
Upon capsizing, the boat spilled chemical solutions that it was placing into the lake anyway, for the purposes of treating the lake. The company was permitted by the Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Amesbury and Town of Merrimac Conservation Commissions to do that work.
The Massachusetts Environmental police and DEP personnel responded Tuesday evening to assess the water conditions, and the boat was removed from the water.
After assessments, there are no immediate concerns with the spill. The pH of the water also remained neutral and normal after the spill.
Police and fire units cleared the scene 8:33 p.m., but the police and fire chiefs remained on scene until approximately 10:30 p.m.
No one was injured during what appears to be an unfortunate boating accident.