Pittsfield water problems prompt emergency action

Posted July 22, 2010, at 10:53 a.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — The town is calling in engineers and a commercial well-driller to determine the severity of a problem in one of the town’s two drinking water wells.

Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said Thursday that a preliminary inspection has revealed that a rock is blocking part of a screen deep in the well. An employee of the town’s water and sewer district noticed the problem recently when water flow out of the wells began to deteriorate.

An engineer from Olver Associates of Winterport, a firm that has been working with Pittsfield on a range of water and sewer issues, discovered the apparent partial cave-in. According to Ruth, the full extent of the problem won’t be known until a commercial well-driller can inspect it.

“This work needs to be completed as soon as possible,” she said. “There are very few companies that work on commercial wells in the state of Maine, so we can’t wait until the next regular Town Council meeting.”

Ruth has scheduled an emergency Town Council meeting for 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Pittsfield Municipal Building. The council will be asked to expend up to $25,000 of the town’s Water Enterprise Fund. Ruth said the project might not cost that much, depending on what the contractor finds within the well. The worst-case scenario is that the town would have to replace the powerful submersible pump that lies far underground.

Ruth said there has been no loss of water service so far and that it is unknown at this point whether the project will cause any interruptions to the flow of drinking water in the town. She said the town would be diligent about keeping water customers up to speed on the project’s progress.

The council was set to meet Friday anyway, but for far less serious business. At 10:30 a.m., councilors will be the judges of a quiche, cheesecake and pie contest, which is associated with the ongoing Central Maine Egg Festival, at the Elks Lodge in downtown Pittsfield.

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