The recent water main break under Messalonskee Stream certainly presents a problem for the water district and highlights the need for substantial replacement of older pipes (“Underwater divers needed to repair Waterville main break beneath Messalonskee Stream,” June 18). More importantly, though, it demonstrates a complete lack of customer service on the part of the water district. On the Kennebec Water District website there were two posts, one at 9:20 a.m. on June 18 reporting that they were looking for the break, and another at 11:13 a.m. stating, “We have located the leak and have restored pressure to the system.”

At 10 p.m. our pipes were belching forth Messalonskee brown water and absolutely no notices or information had appeared on the website. Calls to the district were answered by an unhelpful operator who stonily reported that she has been told to send all reports of brown water to the service team.

There is a very serious problem with the way that this was handled. In the early going, there was absolutely no public warning or source of information for customers to use in determining the status of the water problem. Elsewhere, districts make use of text message warning systems to offer immediate information to their customers. More primitive areas send out teams to post warning signs along the main roads in an effort of communicate with their customers. Fire hydrants are opened wide to flush out the murky water from the system. Our district responded in the most unhelpful manner: by doing simply nothing.

The real lesson here is that our water district has a lot to learn regarding water safety and emergency warning systems.

Joe Schmalzel


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