Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Speaks at New Gloucester Water System Ground-breaking

July 19, 2013

CONTACT:
Jessamine Logan, 287-5842 or jessamine.logan@maine.gov

-DEP provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial assistance and decades of technical assistance in protecting public health for New Gloucester residents

New Gloucester- Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho spoke at the groundbreaking of the New Gloucester Water System. For 27 years, DEP has been involved with the Town to find a clean water solution for Upper Village residents after a leaking underground oil storage tank contaminated drinking water. Once the water system is built, the Upper Village residents will no longer have to worry whether their water is safe to use. The new system is expected to be completed in spring 2014.

“Clean water is not just a matter of public health. Communities with clean, public water supplies, are an attractive place to start or locate a business,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “My Administration recognizes that the protection of the environment and public health also spurs our economy forward.”

Commissioner Aho marked the start of a water system that protects public drinking water supplies for years. “Today we celebrate collaboration, teamwork, and patience between a community, the state, and federal partners. DEP values the opportunity to support this water system because we know an enhanced and improved environment supports a sustainable economy.”

DEP became involved with leaking underground oil storage tanks at a retail gasoline sales and auto repair shop and the resulting drinking water contamination in 1986. Further investigation by DEP and the Town identified two additional gasoline sources and several neighbor’s water supplies were found to be contaminated by gasoline, and up to 19 were contaminated by salt from the Department of Transportation’s former sand/salt shed.

DEP installed five filtration systems on the gasoline contaminated water supplies, and the Town did the same for the salt contaminated water supplies. DEP’s Response Division worked with the facility owners to remove harmful soil, with the DEP’s Groundwater Oil Clean-up Fund funding more than $600,000 for the removal. When the Town came to the conclusion that a permanent solution was needed, DEP provided further financial and technical/hydrogeological assistance to identify a favorable location, drill wells, and test them.

Throughout the 27 years of the Department’s involvement, the support for a permanent resolution to the water quality issues never wavered. Also at the groundbreaking was Chris Swain, DEP’s Director of Innovation and Assistance, and the first project manager. “Today was acknowledgement of the effort and work to find a sustainable solution of the community’s long-term needs for safe and clean water supplies,” said Swain. “DEP worked with the Town and Water District to find a solution, and that’s rewarding. I hope more municipalities see the results of this collaborated effort and turn to DEP for assistance with developing public water supplies.”

The DEP was the first public agency to put money on the table and committed up to $379,820 for the project, with other funding coming from the Cumberland County Community Development Block Grant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development, and the Town of New Gloucester.

For more information about contaminated water concerns call 1-800-482-0777 or visit DEP’s website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/spills/index.html.

Left to right in picture: Travis King, Senator King’s office; Jennifer Rice, Senator Collins’ office; Steven Libby, New Gloucester Water District; Jim Giffune, New Gloucester Water District; Larry Zuckerman, New Gloucester Water District; Patricia Aho, DEP; Steven Johnson, New Gloucester Water District; Virginia Manuel, USDA/Rural Development; State Representative Eleanor Espling; Aaron Shapiro, Cumberland County CDBG.

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