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FOLLOW-UP: Perry Family Dealing With Substandard Water After Pump Test - Oct. 09, 2013

PERRY, Maine (WQDY NEWS) -- There's nothing much new to report on a Perry family's plight after a ten-day pump test nearby, drained their shallow well.

As we reported last week, the Passamaquoddy Tribe along with Wright-Pierce Engineering have been exploring the feasibility of developing a new water source to replace the use of Boyden Lake, the water source for the Passamaquoddy Water District. (The PWD is not involved in any of the ongoing studies and tests).



ABOVE: General area of pump test -WQDY NEWS PHOTO

Test wells were drilled on tribal land between Southmeadow Road and the Golding Road. A three-day pump test was completed and more recently there was ten-day pump test done to satisfy a state requirement to see if there were any impacts.

Unfortunately, there were some adverse impacts.

Perry Selectmen discussed the issue at their Oct. 1 meeting.                          

Jay and Tammy Pearson lost their water for 9-10 days.

Unaware that the Passamaquoddy Tribe was conducting this ten-day pump test, the Pearson's embarked on a series of repairs and replacements of their pump.

Jay Pearson told selectmen he replaced a valve and dug up his undeground wellhead. He replaced parts, tested connections, checked the pump but ended up buying a new pump.

"And it still wouldn't come back," Pearson said.

"When I was out of options to replace it, I called Eastern Plumbing and Heating. So, of course, now I owe them money for checking out the well. They recommended I get a submersible pump because apparently the well had dropped."

This went on for most of a week.


ABOVE: Wellhead sticking up at the Pearson house-WQDY NEWS PHOTO

"Day after day we're trying different things," Pearson told the board..

"So we called Lawrence Lord's well drilling because as far as we know, something happened and our well had gone dry," Pearson said.

"Terry Lord was stopped by, I showed him the well and he said 'I can tell you exactly what happened, they've been pumping 400,000 gallons a day up there for ten days.' So basically, I'm over $1,200, literally in the hole because nobody notified us that there was a test going on," Pearson told selectmen.

A representative of the tribe's environmental department was on hand for the Oct. 1 selectmen's meeting as well as two representatives from Wright-Pierce engineering.

Jeffrey Musich, Senior Vice President with Wright-Pierce admitted, "I think we could have done a better job and we owe you an apology. Our goal was to try to find these things out."

Musich told the Pearson's and one resident on the Shore Road who also experienced water problems, "your wells will recover, I'm confident of that."

On Oct. 3 the Pearson's water level was slowly coming up.

On Weds. Oct. 9, Tammy Pearson told WQDY NEWS, "I haven't heard a word from the Tribe. I did speak to a representative from Wright-Pierce on Friday (Oct. 4). I called him and he called me back and he informed that they had spoken to the tribal leadership and that they had contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which apparently, is on shutdown as non-essential personnel. They told me that attempts at getting some compensation would have to wait until the government shutdown is over."

The family's water has come up somewhat.

"This morning (Oct. 9) it was at 26.8 feet. As it stands, if we hadn't installed the submersible pump, we still wouldn't have any water and we did have a shallow well jet pump in our basement and if we had left that in place we wouldn't have any water at this point," Pearson said.

But the Pearson's water quality isn't what it used to be.


ABOVE: Cloudy water in a clear glass in the sun-WQDY NEWS PHOTO

"Our water is cloudy. I'm not drinking it because I'm not sure of the safety of it. It's not been tested and when I approach people about whether we need to have it tested or cleaned, or anything, I'm told that I ought to go get it tested. Nobody's offered to test it for me, that's apparently on us," Pearson said.

Now it's wait and see.

"It's coming back slowly but surely, but the quality of it right at this point is not something that I'm happy with. It's not really usable other than for basic sanitation purposes," Pearson said.

Before the ten-day pump test, the Pearson's enjoyed great water.

"It was perfect. We could pump water all day long. It's still not up to the point that was prior to this happening. We always had really good water. It was never a problem and now we're left with substandard water and not enough of it," Pearson said.

STORY/PICTURES: Tom McLaughlin WQDY-WALZ news@wqdy.fm