June 06, 2020

Water problems in Veazie, Orono clearing up

VEAZIE — If the number of telephone inquiries and complaints is any indication, problems with the quality of water in Veazie, and to a lesser degree in Orono, have eased significantly over the past several days.

“Phone calls have dropped off tremendously,” Orono-Veazie Water District Superintendent Dennis Cross told officials at Monday night’s Veazie Town Council meeting.

The temporary drop in water quality was traced to excess manganese, a metallic natural element that can be found in ground water, Cross said earlier.

While not a health hazard, too much manganese in the water supply can result in aesthetic problems. Because it reacts with chlorine-based products, manganese also can have adverse effects on laundry and swimming pools.

Stucco Lodge owner Najam “Andy” Hashmi, whose motel’s swimming pool and laundry operations were affected by the problem, reported Tuesday that things were back to normal.

By last weekend, he said, the water in the swimming pool was clear again. Motel guests, who had avoided the pool when the water became discolored, were swimming again. The towels and linens no longer were turning brown in the wash water.

Problems with the taste, odor and appearance of water from the Orono-Veazie Water District arose about two weeks ago, when the district changed over from its main source since 1972 — the Bangor Water District — back to its own system.

The Orono-Veazie system was expanded as part of its move toward independence, which will benefit both the Bangor and Orono-Veazie districts by giving each the capacity to accommodate growth, Cross noted.

Manganese is removed from the district’s wells by means of green sand filters in the six tanks water goes through on its way from the well to the distribution system.

When the newly expanded system went on line, the filters were not working at the level for which they were designed. The district worked with engineers and the manufacturer of the treatment system, which resulted in an improved rate of manganese removal.

It also flushed some of the poor-quality water out of the system by letting fire hydrants run.

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