PITTSTON — Voters at a special town meeting Wednesday agreed to spend $35,000 of town money to pay the costs of drilling a new well for Greg and Arlene Snow after their water was found to be contaminated with salt.

The move comes two weeks after the original special town meeting was delayed due to a technical error in the warrant article.

Michael Hodgins, the town’s attorney in this matter, said the sum covers a range of expenses associated with the well replacement, including bottled water for the Snows, who have not been able to use the water from their well in months, the depreciated value of appliances damaged by the contaminated water and plumbing that has been corroded as well as the cost of drilling the well.

“The well would be drilled to 400 feet, but we hope it comes in at less than that; it would cost lest,” Hodgins said.

In examining the well, Hodgins said, the water at the home off Route 27 was tested and the source of the contamination was determined to be road salt and not salt from the Kennebec River.

While residents weren’t able to vote two weeks ago, they were able to ask questions at that time.

Some questioned why the town would drill a well if there’s no guarantee it won’t be contaminated as well.

But Larry Ireland, who lives East Pittston, said the village underwent something similar more than 20 years ago, when 18 wells were contaminated by leaked gasoline.

“We have to drill a well sooner or later,” Ireland told his neighbors.

When the Snows noticed they were having problems with their water, they tested it and found salt contamination, which was damaging their pipes and appliances. Their property is south and west of the town’s salt and sand shed on Route 27.

The Snows brought the results to town officials, which started months of investigations and a determination that the source of the contamination was the town’s salt supply.

The contamination apparently dates back three decades, to a point before the state Department of Environmental Protection required the town’s salt supply to be stored under cover.

Town officials say they don’t know what the final cost will be.

So far, they have spent about $20,000 on testing and investigating the source of the contamination and attorneys fees.

The vote authorizes releasing $35,000 from the town’s highway account, with $30,000 paying actual costs and $5,000 to replenish the town’s contingency fund.

Hodgins said it’s unlikely that an underground plume of contamination exists.

Once the well is dug, he said, the water will be tested immediately to see whether it’s good. If it is not, he said, the town will have to go to Plan B, which could be a second well or another option to be determined.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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