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Town of Sanford
State: ME
County: York


Water District Drinking Water Source

Salmon Falls River Watershed

Deering Pond sits three quarters of a mile east of the village of Springvale at the northern end of Hansons Ridge. There is little development around the pond except for a hiking trail along its southern end. A small stream drains the pond and flows along the trail for a short distance on its way to join the Little River in Lebanon.

Great Works River Watershed

The Great Works River originates from an emergent wetland between Oak Street and Lebanon Street one mile east of Sanford center. It flows southeast through a mile of forest and passes through a culvert under Lebanon Street. The river runs through a small cemetery on Twombly Road where it passes under two small bridges. Goodall Brook flows into the river downstream of Twombly Road. It originates in the center of town near Goodall Park and flows less than a mile to join the Great Works River. As it flows by the eastern edge of Sanford the Great Works River becomes shallow and spreads out into a series of marshes that extend for two and a half miles from Berwick Road to Pond In The River. These marshes are bordered by many homes and roads and pass several gravel pits as they contribute their waters to the river. A series of ponds flow into the river south of Main Street. Mud Pond and Sand Pond sit side by side just north of Sand Pond Road. They are 2.5 and 30 acres in size respectively and are connected by a 125 foot stream. The shorelines of both ponds are moderately developed with homes and docks clustered close to the water. Sand Pond empties into a forested wetland north of Sandy Point Road. This wetland slowly drains northward into four acre Round Pond which is completely surrounded by woods. The water from Round Pond flows north through another forested wetland and into a small stream that empties Picture Pond. The shores of this ten acre pond are forested and emergent wetland and are completely undeveloped. Water flowing out of Picture Pond makes its way east through a complex of marshes until it joins Little Long Pond. This pond is slightly more developed as it brushes up against the outskirts of Sanford center. Here Curtis Pond also adds its waters that flow south behind several businesses on Main Street. Several small forested and emergent wetlands form in this area near West View Drive, with Little Long Pond in there midst. The water then flows north converging with a small stream emptying Old Fishing Pond just south of Old Mill Road. Finally, the waters from these seven ponds flow into the Great Works River in an area of wide marsh. As the river approaches the Sanford border with North Berwick it flows through Pond-in-the-River where it is beginning to form an oxbow. A half mile downstream the river passes through a large culvert under Sand Pond Road. Here it passes several small farms and gravel pit, and broadens again into a large marsh area near Country Club Road. In the midst of this marsh, yet another pond adds its waters to the Great Works River. Allen Pond contains 4.5 acres of open water but is surrounded by an equally sized wetland that drains south to the river near the Sanford Country Club. As the river approaches the golf course it forms Bauneg Beg Pond which lies across the Sanford and North Berwick Border. This 180 acre pond is moderately developed along Country Club Road. As it flows through the pond the Great Works River crosses into North Berwick having drained a large portion Sanford.

In the southern tip of Sanford, Ell Pond sits on the border with Wells just east of Horace Mills Road. A few dozen homes dot its Sanford shore and a gravel pit borders the small stream that empties the pond at its eastern edge. This small stream joins several others and forms Perkins Brook, which flows past a large gravel pit before entering the town of Wells.

Mousam River Watershed

Littlefield Pond sits between Emmons Road and Elm Street in the northern end of Sanford. There is a small farm bordering the pond to the south and another near the ponds outlet, which drains west, crossing under Littlefield Road and flows into the Mousam River a half mile away.

Beaver Hill Pond sits just north of Beaver Hill at the site of a large farm. Most of its 1.2 acres are surrounded by emergent wetland and forest. A small brook drains out of its western end and flows south along Railroad Avenue eventually crossing under Shawís Ridge Road and emptying into the Mousam River downstream of Stump Pond.

Sunken Pond sits between New Dam Road and Alfred Road. It is bordered by a farm to the east, and a large subdivision to the west. The pond drains north emptying through a culvert on New Dam Road and flowing into Trout Pond. This pond by contrast has only one home on its shore and is mostly surrounded by forest. Its waters drain into a forested wetland to the north which eventually forms a small stream and runs into Hay Brook. This brook forms most of Sanfordís border with Alfred running north to south between Ridley Road and Bernier Road. For almost its entire four mile length it encounters very little development as it runs through forest and marsh. At the end of its run Hay Brook empties into Estes Lake where it joins the Mousam River.

The Mousam River flows into Sanford from Shapleigh at the end of Main Street. It flows under the road and passes several homes before crossing into a small forest south of Stanley Road. Emerging from the trees the river flows into Mill Pond, the first of a series of ponds formed by dams in the river. The development along the shores of the pond is a mix of houses, businesses, a large cemetery, and Springvale Park. It ends at the dam on Mill Street. Passing the dam the river runs for 300 yards and passes a second dam at Bridge Street. Now passing through the heart of Springvale the shores of the river become densely developed as it pools behind a third dam. Flowing past this obstruction the river runs under an old railroad bridge and into Stump Pond. The density of development is not as high here as the river passes a fourth dam on River Street. It flows into a small marsh area adjacent to the power line right of way and passes under River Street again before pooling behind a fifth dam in the heart of downtown Sanford forming Number One Pond. Development along this pond is the highest on any stretch of the river with dense clusters of houses and roads in the downtown center. The river flows over the dam and passes through 900 feet of man made channel where it runs through the Sanford Mill Building. The Mousam River flows through a small wooded marsh south of Emery Street and passes between two gravel processing sites, where it forms an oxbow around a small emergent wetland. Crossing under School Street the riverís banks form a wide marsh as the river leaves the urban part of town. It runs along Jagger Mill Road for two miles and then turns east, passing the 100 acre treatment ponds of the Sanford Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Mousam River passes a several large industrial facilities on Main Street before flowing into a 2 mile stretch of forest. As it approaches the Sanford and Alfred border the Mousam River converges with the waters of Estes Lake which forms behind New Falls Dam. The lake is the largest in Sanford at 170 acres in size with the Sanford and Alfred border running through the middle. The shores of the lake are highly developed with homes and camps. The Mousam River passes its sixth dam and two former mill sites and picks up speed as it drops 70 feet over a half mile run through a mostly forested area and enters Kennebunk.

Little River Watershed

The Merriland River flows out of a marsh area south of the Sanford Airport. It crosses under Sam Allen Road and flows through an emergent wetland gathering water from several small streams and passing into Wells.

Branch Brook drains an emergent wetland east of the Sanford Airport. It begins behind a commercial building on Main Street and flows through one mile of deciduous forest until it crosses into Wells.

Dog Brook forms near the power line right of way south of Kennebunk Road. It flows through a forested area for a quarter mile and then passes into Kennebunk.

To see the locations of these resources in Google Earth follow this link.

If you do not have Google Earth software you may download it by following this link.

Water District: Sanford Water District
District Website: http://www.sanfordwater.org/
Water Source: Groundwater Wells
# Accts Serv: 5780
Other Towns: none
Sewer District: Sanford Sewer District
District Website: 207-324-9135
Receiving Waters: Mousam River
# Accts Serv: 4600
Other Towns: none
(Click the Title of the article to learn more.)
Estes Lake Association
Community Assistance Providers
An organization of landowners around Estes Lake dealing with related social and environmental issues.
Sanford Comprehensive Plan
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Sanford-Springvale Mousam Way Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers
A land trust serving Sanford and Springvale and surrounding communities

Seal:town seal, click to enlarge
Population:21534 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:50.4 square miles


Sanford Maine is located in central York County in Southern Maine and is the largest service center not located on Interstate 95. The topography varies from the dramatic hills and ridges in the north to flat glacial plains in the south. In general, the community is heavily forested with a few open fields, grasslands, and wetlands breaking the canopy. The town is divided down its middle by the Mousam River which has served as the economic engine of its past and the symbol of its future.

Once a farming center and then home to one of the stateís largest textile mill complexes, Sanford is now experiencing all the pressures of rapid economic growth. In order to ensure that Sanford residents will be able to continue to enjoy the diversity of living, working and playing while protecting its natural environment, the town is currently developing an aggressive land management plan designed to create a balance between the needed economic growth and the protection of its natural resources.

Growth is taking place in Sanford is mainly driven by economic development as the town asserts its role as a service center in York County. Population grew by only 1.7% during the 90ís and is projected to increase by less than 1% by 2010. What residential growth has taken place has been in the rural areas of town. This represents a shift from 86% of residents living in the town center in 1960 to only 66% in 2000. Also, the Town of Sanfordís businesses have been moving away from downtown areas. While Downtown Sanford was the primary commercial center for Sanford and surrounding towns 40 years ago, today this same commercial activity is spread out across the town. Manufacturing, service businesses, and retail activity has spread out along Route 109, especially to the south.

Sanford still retains some of its agricultural heritage. There are still many active farms spread throughout town as well as numerous parcels in Tree Growth status. Several land trusts maintain properties as conserved open space throughout the town and there are significant undeveloped blocks of land. Recreation takes place primarily in these areas and along the numerous water bodies in Sanford. The town draws its water supply from a vast series of sand and gravel aquifers which underlay most of the town.

to learn more see The Sanford Comprehensive Plan


In 1661 the area that includes Sanford was purchased from two Abenaki Chiefs.

Settlers began arriving in the early 1700ís attracted by abundant supplies of timber and water power on the rivers where numerous sawmills soon sprang up. Sanford was incorporated in 1768 and an official census taken in 1790 listed 1,799 residents.

Agriculture was the predominant industry during the 1800ís. One of the earliest uses of local water resources was ice harvesting as a supplemental source of income for farmers during the winter. With the arrival of electricity and refrigeration the ice harvesting business dried up.

Intensive use of water resources in Sanford began with the arrival of the mills along the Mousam River. In the late 1820's the Springvale Print Works plant was established on the west bank of the Mousam River. It continued in operation until 1853 when the plant and most of its adjacent buildings were destroyed by fire. The Goodall family in particular harnessed the power of the river by installing several dams to run their looms, and in 1892 to generate electricity. The Goodalls constructed New Dam on the Mousam River which provided additional electric power and created Estes Lake. Water was valued by the textile industry not only to power the mills but also for washing their wool and cotton. The arrival of coal power and hydro power allowed mills to move away from reliance on the rivers for direct power. The Mills went into decline in the early to mid 1900ís though manufacturing continued to play a role in Sanfordís economy.

Despite the ups and downs of the economy the population of Sanford has continued to grow throughout its history. From 1900 to 1930 the population doubled, spurred on by the success of the mill industry. From 1970 to 1990 the population increased from 15,812 to 20,806.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC