HOLTON, Maine — Residents of Mobile Home Park in Holden have had their water contaminated for four years with high levels of perfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, which could be relieved as early as sometime next year.
The Holden City Council has approved an application for up to $1 million through Maine’s Community Development Block Grant program to help fund new water and sewer lines into the Holden Mobile Home Park.
Residents of the mobile home park have been drinking from bottles for the past four years after a February 2018 sample from a park well confirmed levels of PFAS above the 20 parts per trillion health recommendation level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water. People use well water for bathing and laundry.
Located on Old Woodstock Road near Holden International Airport, the park covers approximately 19 acres with approximately 55 parcels. It is owned by Tony Brettkelly of TBK Maine Properties, according to the township.
“This has been an ongoing issue since I arrived,” said Holden town manager Marian Anderson, who took over in January 2019.
The application, filed on behalf of Houlton Water Co., will fund a new sewer line to serve not only the mobile home park, but also to upgrade the sewer for the town’s industrial park at an estimated cost of $756,850.
Additionally, Holden Water will build a new water main for the area thanks to funding from the Maine Safe Drinking Water Program. The estimated cost is US$ 1.8 million.
“PFAS levels at Holden Mobile Home Park are above the current interim standard of 20 ppm in drinking water, and owners are providing bottled water to residents while working hard to find a solution,” said Amy Lachance, drinking water program manager.
Lachance said the potable water program will provide Houlton Water Co. with $3.87 million in state revolving funds to expand its service and enable users of mobile home parks and other areas to use municipal water.
One stipulation of state funding is that mobile home park owners must spend $494,000 to replace the park’s water distribution system, which would eliminate about 80,000 gallons a day of leaks and other problems, Lachance said.
Holden Water general manager Greg Sherman said the work would not proceed if the owners did not agree to contribute 25 per cent. Once the water main is built, the water company will take over and manage that line.
Sherman said the best-case scenario for installing new water and sewer lines is sometime in 2023, assuming the town successfully secures funding.
“This grant will boost sewer work and build a new [water] The end of Old Woodstock Road, where some problems have arisen,” said Holden Director of Economic and Community Development Nancy Cage. “This project will help alleviate some of the health and safety issues experienced by often underserved populations. safe question. “
Sherman said the project was really two separate issues — water and sewer — but both were interrelated. The company cannot simply install a new sewer without addressing the polluted water problem.
“The Maine Drinking Water Program reached out to us to try and solve the water problem,” Sherman said. “The project will invest more than $2 million in Holden Water’s system by replacing the outdated 10-inch main with a new 12-inch main.”
The mobile home park used to be connected to Holden Water for water, but that service was discontinued, in part because there were many leaks in the water mains, it was too expensive for owners to repair, and residents continued to pay high and too expensive water bills, Sherman said.
Mobile Home Park is a sewer customer of Houlton Water Co. That means the contaminated water from the park’s sewers is producing higher than normal amounts of PFAS in its sludge, which is discarded in a landfill in the old city of Casella, Sherman said.
“This new line will alleviate all issues and provide safe drinking water to the people at Holden Mobile Home Park,” Sherman said. “It will also replace infrastructure built during World War II.”