January 28, 2021

Public interest seems lacking at water hearing in Burnham

BURNHAM — No one showed up Monday night at a public hearing at the Burnham Town Hall to offer comments on the location of Pittsfield’s water source in Burnham.

Pittsfield Town Manager D. Dwight Dogherty and Mayor Harold Perry attended to answer questions anyone might have about the project, but the only people attending from Burnham were two selectmen, the town clerk and the administrative assistant.

Voters in Burnham must approve Pittsfield’s use of the water and will vote on the issue at a special town meeting on March 25.

The project will provide a new, manganese-free water source for Pittsfield. The well will be located on the Burnham side of the Sebasticook River and the well house will be located on the other side of the road, in Detroit.

Tests returned last November indicate a large volume of clear, high-quality water.

The tests, conducted by Wright-Pierce Engineers, were taken at three times, Sept. 20, Sept. 22 and Sept. 27, after the 8-inch test well at the site had been pumped for a week without stopping.

The test results showed acceptable levels of 28 properties, including coliform, manganese, herbicides, pesticides, hardness, nitrite and nitrate nitrogen, color, lead, mercury, sodium, zinc, arsenic and fluoride.

Dogherty told the Burnham selectmen that once Burnham voters approve taking the water, Pittsfield will buy the 34 acres from Dragon Cement Inc. and the mains, electric lines and pumping station will be constructed.

Rural Economic and Community Development, formerly the FmHA, gave Pittsfield a $600,000 grant to locate and develop a new well.

The main will be 1.3 miles of piping, probably to be buried under the Sebasticook River. Dogherty said bringing three-phase power to the site will be put out to bid and Pittsfield will own the lines, a measure he said is much more economical than paying CMP to bring power to the remote location.

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