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Fryeburg (Maine) water trustees concerned about wells (Poland Spring is a Nestle contract)

By Daymond Steer

FRYEBURG, Maine — Fryeburg Water District Trustees, concerned about the lack of rain this summer, are asking constituents to fill out an online survey about how their wells are performing and also about their satisfaction with the local water company. Meanwhile, the operator of the town’s water works is asking residents to be conservative with their water use.

The trustees form a quasi-municipal board created in the event that stockholders of the private Fryeburg Water Co. want to sell.

Recently, Fryeburg Water Co.’s board decided to contract day-to-day operations to the Maine Water Co.

In the online survey on Fryeburg Water’s website, it asks for a variety of information, including type of well, the depth, when it was drilled and whether there were any problems with the well.

The survey is anonymous but leaves respondents the option of leaving their contact information.

“Water flows through the bedrock beneath us in ways that is difficult to fully understand or track,” states Fryeburgwaterdistrict.com.

“In order to better understand this source and the connections we share, we invite you to report on your source quality and quantity whether you are within the district or part of a neighboring community.”

Maine Water put out a press release Aug. 9 advising residents to use water wisely as there has been a less rainfall than usual this year.

“While there are no immediate concerns with any of Maine Water’s sources across the state in meeting customer demands, the company is reminding customers that careful water use is always prudent to protect valuable natural water resources and ensure their long-term sustainability,” states Maine Water. “Wise water use also helps to avoid the considerable expense of developing new water supply sources, and ensures adequate supplies in storage for fire protection and other system demands.”

Maine Water Vice President Rick Knowlton said recently that the Aug. 9 guidance still applies. He said on average Maine would get 45 to 48 inches of rain per year with between 25 and 30 inches falling between January and June. He said rainfalls vary depending on location — in some areas of southern Maine rainfall has been up to 5 inches below normal, while the numbers get closer to average as one goes north. He said rainfall has been low since May.

During their meeting last week, independent state representative candidate Walter Riseman, who if elected would represent Harrison, Bridgton and Denmark, said that he wants to learn more about pumping activities of Maine water.

Riseman said some people in Denmark are concerned their wells are running dry due to pumping from companies like Poland Spring and that their cranberry bogs are drying up.

Riseman said he is seeking statistical data about water being pumped from Denmark, saying, “There needs to be a baseline of data collection, and that’s how you make some progress.”

Poland Spring has an East Fryeburg pumping station that draws from a water source that also feeds Denmark. Poland Spring has long maintained that its pumping activities are sustainable and would not affect residential water users.

Greg Huang-Dale, chairman of the board of trustees, said trustees have another survey on their website asking Fryeburg Water Co. customers about their satisfaction with the company.

He also said people have complained about Maine’s “absolute dominion” law that controls water extraction. Riseman believes water is a public resource that should be owned by the people.

Trustee Nels Liljedahl said absolute dominion means that a landowner owns the water under his or her land and can extract it. This can affect people who live downstream.

Trustees said Maine is one of three states, including Indiana and Texas, that practice absolute dominion. “It’s not fair at all,” said Liljedahl.

Source:http://www.conwaydailysun.com/newsx/local-news/127553-fryeburg-water-trustees-concerned-about-wells

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