RANDOLPH — After several complaints about flooded lawns, selectmen are working on a policy to deal with residents who want the town to foot the bill for repairs on private property.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection tested groundwater at a residence on Lincoln Street to see if the standing water came from Randolph’s sewer system.

In a letter to Selectman Edward Gorham, Beth DeHaas of the DEP said there appeared to be no contamination other than what is typically found in standing water, including bacteria. The Gardiner Water District also checked to see if there were any leaks in the water pipes.

Selectman Peter Hanley said residents should be responsible for determining the cause of flooding and fixing the problem, not the town.

If it is determined that the town is at fault, he said money for repairs should be requested at a town meeting.

“The other selectmen went out on a limb to be good people, and I would say it was a mistake,” Hanley said Tuesday. “If you feel you can go onto private property and fix something that should have been fixed before they purchase the property you’re asking for trouble. You’re asking to open a can of worms that’s going to be a hard sell and hard to keep up with.”

John Crocker, public works director, said Lincoln Street was built on a swampy area and that an old ditch on the private property has not been taken care of for years. Some people have been dumping leaves into the ditch, he said.

Crocker agrees with Hanley. He said town funds should not be used to benefit a select few.

“If you do it for one, you should do it for everyone,” Crocker said. “We’ve had so much rain the last two years the ground is saturated. There’s no place for groundwater to run off. If you ride around other communities you’ll see homeowners are taking care of their problems at their own expense.”

Hanley, who lives on a farm, said it has been a “terribly wet season,” which people aren’t taking into consideration when they ask the town to fix the problem.

The town also received complaints of flooding from residents living on Belmont Avenue and Meadowview Drive. After it rained Tuesday night, running water on Wednesday rushed through culverts along Lincoln Street, where it connects with Stevens Avenue. Several properties along Lincoln Street had small creeks running through in low areas.

“We’ve had to have extra tractors in the field to pull hay because of the swampy conditions,” Hanley said. “Regular people don’t see this. We’ve had such a wet season it’s almost impossible to do a lot of things on our farm.”

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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