New well under construction at water-starved Brunswick mobile home park

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BRUNSWICK — Construction of a new well at Bay Bridge Estates, a mobile home park where residents say they did not have a sufficient water supply for several days last week, is almost complete.

Kevin McCarthy of Liberty Management Group on Tuesday said park owners are hopeful the well could be used by the middle of next week. Liberty Management Group co-owns the park with BBE, LLC.

On Jan. 4, Stephen E.F. Langsdorf, attorney for the town, wrote a letter to McCarthy regarding the water supply issues. He demanded a response within 24 hours, including both a short-term and long-term solution to the problem.

The letter also stated if McCarthy was unable or unwilling to provide the solutions by the next day, the town would invoke its rights to supply the “basic necessity” of water to the residents and take legal action to recover the cost of doing so.

According to a Jan. 5 press release, the town arranged for water to be trucked into Bay Bridge from the Brunswick and Topsham Water District, with the owner’s consent.

It also said park owners cited drilling the new well as their long-term solution to the water problem, with work beginning Jan. 9 and expected to last no longer than 10 days.

McCarthy said his company started the permitting process for the new well last summer, after realizing the capacity of the park’s two wells to produce water had been declining in recent years. Construction on the new well was originally scheduled to begin this spring.

McCarthy said park owners began rationing water after usage “spiked up to extraordinary numbers,” double what it usually is, for a period of four or five days over New Year’s weekend.

He said the increase was partially due to residents running taps continuously to prevent pipes from freezing during the recent cold snap, and the result of leaking pipes.

After the scope of the problem became apparent, McCarthy said, part of his company’s original “short-term” solution included trucking in water, which is why it agreed to pay for the town to take that action.

At the time he received correspondence from the town, he said, his company did not believe trucking in water was already necessary.

McCarthy added he understands why residents felt the need to take precautions against frozen pipes, but ensuring pipes are insulated is a better method than using more water.

“We’re obviously sorry all of this happened and it hasn’t been easy,” McCarthy said. “These things are never helpful, (they) just cause unnecessary anguish and anxiety among tenants and management staff alike.”

He added his company recognizes it also needs to find a better way of communicating with tenants.

On Jan. 5, Bay Bridge Estates residents arranged a meeting at the American Legion Hall in Bath, to discuss their concerns, including the low water supply, and form a tenant group. Town Manager John Eldridge was present, along with other town councilors.

Eldridge addressed the crowd, stating town staff first learned of the problem Jan. 1, and began mobilizing to “understand what was happening” the next day.

Eldridge said town officials did not feel the park owners’ short-term plan was acceptable, which resulted in arranging for water delivery from the Brunswick and Topsham Water District.

He added that although his immediate concern was correcting the water supply problem, the town would also be involved in addressing other water-related issues at Bay Bridge going forward.

“It seems you have far more issues with water than just the levels and the quantity,” Eldridge said. “You also have issues with quality, so we’ve committed that we will do some testing of the water as well.”

Eldridge also advised residents to be mindful of their use of water by being careful not to leave faucets open and reporting any leaks.

“What I’m trying to convey to you is, the town is committed to keeping the deliveries of the water up, but we also expect and hope that you would be careful in your use of water,” he said.

At the same meeting, Bay Bridge residents Micheala Aube, Rodney Doray, Marieke Gaisson and Savannah Ventry were elected as the first members of the tenant group’s board.

Jeanee Wright, cooperative development specialist at the Cooperative Development Institute, also spoke at the meeting and said she would help Bay Bridge residents form a legal tenant association.

District 1 Town Councilor David Watson and Eldridge assured residents town staff would continue to make solving water issues at Bay Bridge a priority.

“If there’s any silver lining in this,” Eldridge said, “you have everybody’s attention.

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

Residents of Bay Bridge Estates met Jan. 5 in Bath to discuss tenant concerns, which ended with a tenant group being formed. Brunswick town officials were also present.

Residents of Bay Bridge Estates, a mobile home park off Route 1 in Brunswick, had an inadequate supply of water for several days at the beginning of the month.

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