Naples studies public drinking water

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — In science fiction movies, there is a future without clean drinking water.

In some science laboratories, equipment has been invented that turns salt water into fresh drinkable H2O.

In some towns, people do not trust the water that comes out of the tap.

Locally, could the solution be as easy as drilling a few test wells?

The Town of Naples is taking the steps to secure drinking water for the public. A probable solution is on the horizon, a few years after discovering levels of uranium, which are unsafe for consumption by children, according to Town Manager Derik Goodine.

The initial water quality tests were performed because the Naples-based business was a daycare, according to Goodine. Currently, other public facilities are not required to test for uranium. However, the town tested the drinking water at the Town Office and Naples Fire Department; and uranium was present in high levels at both those places, Goodine said.

Uranium is naturally occurring in well water. The consumption of high levels of uranium can be taxing on the kidneys.

Last month, Selectman Rick Paraschak joined Goodine in assisting with the parameters of a drinking water study that will focus on supplying Main Street.

Still to be determined: Which spot will yield the best water?

On Monday, March 11, the Naples Board of Selectmen opted to give the winning bid to the James W. Sewall Company of Old Town.

The project will be partially funded by a $20,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and $38,000 Tax Increment Funding, budgeted for this purpose, according to Goodine.

“The purpose of the study is to provide safe, clean drinking water for the future for our residents,” Goodine said. “It is also a strategic move for the future for business attraction and economic development. We have found that prospective companies coming into the state have a list of things they are looking for when they speculate about sites around the state for a location. One of the top things they mention is public water.”

As part of the project, the town must purchase a yet-to-be-identified parcel to set aside the drinking water source.

“There will be many potential sites to initially look at. Before we do any testing, we will be establishing purchase and sales agreements upfront to purchase the property for fair market value,” Goodine said. “If we can’t negotiate such an agreement with anyone we will move to another site.”

Sewall Company will be looking for well sites that have sand and gravel pack. Ideally, the drilling company will “locate a proper water source for current and future customers in the service area,” Goodine said.

In addition, the study will “delineate where the service area will be as well as the number of gallons of water needed to serve the service area; and it will determine the size of the storage tank to hold the water, and where any pumping stations will need to be located,” Goodine said.

At this time, the water study applies strictly to Main Street, which encompasses Naples’ commercial and village zones, where town officials hope to guide businesses in the future, Goodine said.

 

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