Press Release

Planning Commission workshop on Threats to Drinking Water Wells

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Striking a Balance organizers announce the 29th forum in the development-related workshop series on Threats to Drinking Water Wells, 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, storm date April 6, at the VFW Hall at 419 Main St. (Washington Junction Road) in Ellsworth

The topic will be identification and treatment of unsafe levels of contaminants in private wells. This workshop is a partnership with Healthy Acadia and the Maine Center for Disease Control. The session qualifies for education credits for code enforcement officers and local plumbing inspectors.

Participants must register by March 24. Registration at the door is not possible. A registration fee of $18 will include a light meal and materials. Please note that doors will open at 5 p.m. for confirming registration and the meal. The program begins promptly at 6 p.m. Speakers include Andrew Smith, State Toxicologist with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who will review the major water quality concerns for private wells. David Braley of the Maine Drinking Water Program will discuss how to identify threats to drinking water and reduce exposure to contaminants. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion on steps that can be taken to address problems in private wells.

“Well water safety is a critical public health issue” stressed HCPC executive director Tom Martin. “About 95 percent of homes in Hancock County are served by private wells but few wells are tested regularly. We hope to increase awareness of the potential threats to drinking water. Portions of Hancock County are within an “arsenic belt” where arsenic levels in drinking water exceed the federal guidelines. An unscientific sample of wells revealed that 23 percent of the 120 wells tested in Surry had arsenic concentrations that were ten times safe limit,” Martin concluded.

Striking a Balance was developed to address issues related to land development in Hancock County. Striking a Balance has been very well received, often attracting more than 100 participants consisting of municipal officials, real estate agents, code enforcement officers, developers, and the community at large. Funding was provided in part by the USDA Rural Utilities Service.

To register, or for more information, please contact Sheri Walsh, HCPC Administrative Assistant/Planning Technician, at 667-7131 or