HARTLAND — Drinking water quality in Hartland does not appear to be in jeopardy, according to Town Manager Peggy Morgan and a spokesman for the Department of Human Services.
Last week, town officials and local water customers learned their water supplier, the Hartland Water Co., was one of two companies cited in a lawsuit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.
The DHS Drinking Water Program filed the suit in its efforts to get Paul Ring of New Harbor, owner and president of the Waldoboro and Hartland Water companies, to comply with state and federal laws pertaining to water treatment.
According to the complaint, Ring has known since 1988 he was required to comply with the Surface Water Treatment Rule. The rule requires operators of public water systems to install necessary filtration and disinfection technology or qualify for an exemption, or cease using a surface water supply. He had until June 1993 to meet the requirement and failed to do so.
Water testing has been conducted on the local supply several times at the request of local customers, according to Gary Geraway, field service coordinator for the Drinking Water Program. Geraway said many times the aesthetic qualities of the water, color, odor and taste, are what concern customers. However, he said, it is what you don’t see that poses a greater threat.
Citing two different dates in August, Geraway said random test samples, and subsequent followups, determined the water posed no health hazard. He also said that despite the situation, Ring is continuing to submit the required water samples as required.
Geraway or his staff will return in the coming weeks for two more rounds of sampling as a followup to the earlier sampling. He also said the dry summer can be a contributing factor to increased bacteria in the supply. The problem can be remedied with additional chlorination, he said.
According to Jane Lawrence, a DHS paralegal working on the Hartland-Waldoboro suit, DHS normally tests only as a result of a complaint, and will not continue testing without a reason.
Geraway said that because of the situation, the department was willing to conduct a test whenever a customer has a concern. But he also emphasized it is not being done in conjunction with the lawsuit as a means of building a case against Ring.