Sanitary district policy raises questions in Sangerville

Posted Feb. 26, 2010, at 8:43 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:04 p.m.

SANGERVILLE, Maine — The Guilford-Sangerville Sanitary District recently adopted a policy that allows recreational vehicle owners to occasionally dump holding tanks at the treatment plant located in Guilford.

That policy was adopted after Sangerville selectmen, at the behest of resident Irving McNaughton, asked why the district had given its permission last summer to a Corinna man to dump up to 100 gallons of gray water a year from his motor home in Willimantic.

McNaughton told selectmen in September that when the treatment plant was being developed in the 1980s, Sangerville residents were told that no gray water systems other than those on the system in the communities of Guilford and Sangerville were eligible to dump at the facility. He said the district’s bylaws prevent the dumping of gray water, which is the water left behind by dishwashing, laundry and bathing.

No response was received from the sanitary district on the matter until this week when Sangerville selectmen received a copy of a new RV Holding Tank Dumping-Disposal Policy. While the policy prohibits commercial dumping, it has no limit on the amount that can be dumped at the facility per vehicle nor does it specify that only gray water may be dumped. It does, however, specify a $5 charge per dumping occurrence. It also states that if the dumping becomes a nuisance to sanitary district employees, the dumping would stop.

“It would appear that this was adopted after the incident to perhaps solve the problem,” resident Lance Burgess said at Thursday’s board meeting, referring to the earlier approval given to the Corinna resident.

Selectman Charles Cleaves, who was elected to serve on the sanitary board, said the dumping has nothing to do with the town, and he encouraged those with questions about the plant’s operation to attend the sanitary district board meetings on the third Thursday of each month. He said the Guilford-Sangerville Water District and the sanitary plant are separate entities from the town. “In all honesty, the town really doesn’t have any reason to even be discussing this,” he said.

Burgess disagreed. “I believe that all the people in the town of Sangerville are interested in what goes on at the sanitary district, in fact, we made a rather healthy donation of $80,000 years ago when the district first started,” he said Thursday. The rural taxpayers in the town were told then that they were not allowed to use the fa-cility, he added.

Selectmen also were advised that the sanitary district is seeking permission from the Department of Environmental Protection to discharge treated wastewater into the Piscataquis River.

In an unrelated matter, selectmen tabled a request from Randy Cookson to have the town pay $600 in attorney fees he incurred on a protection from harassment order he filed earlier this winter against Cleaves. Cookson alleged that Cleaves and resident Frank Ruksznis had broken into his personal toolbox at the town garage in October. Selectmen wanted to see a copy of the order’s dismissal before they took any action.

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