WATERVILLE — The “Aquaholics” took the plunge, made the tap and came out on top, again.

The Kennebec Water District took the top honors Thursday at the 3rd Annual Pipe Tapping Competition in Brunswick. They also came out on top in last year’s competition, which is hosted by the Maine Water Utilities Association and pits water utility crews against each other in a timed event to tap a pressurized water pipe in an effort to connect a new water service line.

Competing at this year’s event were teams from the Greater Augusta Utilities District, Lewiston Water Department, Boothbay Regional Utilities District and Saco-based Maine Water Company.

Team KWD, wearing blue shirts with the name “Aquaholics,” took first place with a record time of 2 minutes and 8 seconds, which is 44 seconds faster than their win last year, according to the water district’s Facebook page. Team members included TJ Pooler, Tony Bellavance, Shane George, Ross Desjardins and Rob Clark, according to the district.

Bruce Berger, executive director of the Maine Water Utilities Association, said the event is modeled after a national competition and intended to offer camaraderie, bragging rights and a trophy for Maine utility crews. A water main is pressurized, and the team must conduct an active tap on the main just as they would every day when installing water service. It takes a lot of practice for a team to tap as quickly as Kennebec Water District, Berger said.

“It’s making no mistakes, no leaks,” Berger said. “It’s really a team event.”


While the Maine record is impressive, other national teams are even quicker. Berger said a team from Mexico finished in 1 minute and 14 seconds.

Roger Crouse, general manager of the Kennebec Water District, said on the Facebook post that the utility was “proud of their hard work, determination and excitement for the work they do.”

Kennebec Water District serves Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, Benton and Vassalboro with water for domestic, commercial and fire protection purposes and also serves as the source of supply for AquaMaine in the town of Oakland.

Berger called the water district operators “unsung heroes of our state” by supplying safe drinking water and going out to fix broken water lines, even during extreme weather in the summer and winter.

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