SANGERVILLE, Maine — An East Sangerville resident suggested to selectmen Tuesday that they ask the Department of Environmental Protection to take two sets of groundwater samples from Barrett Pit when the state returns to monitor the test wells.
Resident Brian Campbell said the DEP will be conducting its own tests for heavy metals and at the same time, a separate set should be collected so the town can have the groundwater tested by an independent firm. The two tests could then be compared, he said.
More than seven residents who have had similar health symptoms worry that sludge spreading in the pit more than 10 years ago may have prompted their illnesses.
Campbell said even if the results of Thursday’s samples show the aquifer is clean, the plume of contamination that the DEP admitted occurred from the spreading could have traveled through the groundwater and leached into his groundwater before it dissipated. If that happened, he said, his drinking water could have contami-nated his body with heavy metals which he later eliminated through medical treatment.
Dyann Clark asked whether town officials were told the spreading detail initially had contaminated the groundwater with heavy metals about 10 years ago.
Selectman Len Nilson said he served on the planning board after the mixture had been applied in the pit. He recalled that it was rather difficult to get information from New England Organics, the company hired by the permit holders to do the spreading. The planning board had no say in the spreading, nor was the board asked for comment, he said.
Clark said that no one in the East Sangerville area, including the abutters, was notified about the spreading and they weren’t told of the heavy metal contamination after it had occurred.
Town Manager Joe Clark said he would contact state officials about the testing and get further information for the board.
Rep. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville, who also attended the meeting, said later that he would ask the DEP commissioner to carry out the request of the residents for two samples from the groundwater monitoring.
Campbell said the health problems may not be related to the pit and if so, something else is wrong in the area. There has to be a reason so many people had the same health issues, he said.