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Release Date: 01/05/1998
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today settled a case involving drinking water violations by the Andover Water District in Andover, Maine.

The settlement, filed today in U.S. District Court in Portland, Me., requires the water district to construct a drinking water well and associated pumping and storage facilities by December 1998. The consent decree also includes payment of a $5,000 civil penalty by the water district.

The case stems from the water district's failure to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The federal law required that by June 1993, water supply systems with surface water supplies filter their drinking water or find a suitable groundwater source.

When the water district did not comply, the EPA issued an administrative order in June 1994 requiring the water district to come into compliance with the federal law. Continued violations by the water district resulted in the case being referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for formal legal action in September 1996.

Since the appointment of a new board of trustees in October 1996, the water district has made dramatic progress securing an underground well source, which has already been constructed and approved by the state. The water district, which is serviced by a reservoir in Stony Brook, is expected to switch over to the well late next year.

"Resolving this case is good news because it ensures safe and healthy drinking water for residents of Andover," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "The settlement also sends a message that the EPA will not stand idle when water supply systems around New England ignore requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act."

DeVillars praised the water district's new slate of trustees for moving aggressively to find a safer drinking water supply for the district's 300 users. "The new trustees deserve great credit for stepping up to the plate and delivering on the clean and safe drinking water needs of Andover," DeVillars said.

The consent decree requires that the water district finish construction of the well, pump facilities and all other related projects by late next year so that the water supply is in compliance with all state and federal drinking water standards and regulations by Dec. 31, 1998. The agreement also requires the district to implement several interim measures, including a chlorination program that will ensure safe drinking water until the new source is activated.

An advisory, telling residents to boil their water for at least five minutes before using it, will remain in effect until the water district switches over to the well. The Maine Department of Human Services ordered the water district to issue the advisory in October 1996.