WILTON — Independent testing has shown that sewage is not flowing into Wilson Lake, according to Water and Wastewater Superintendent Heinz Grossman.

Grossman detailed the testing, conducted by environmental company Ransom Consulting, Inc. at the Tuesday, Sept. 7, Wilton Select Board meeting.

Grossman said that Ransom tests found no human fecal matter was present in the samples, only animal fecal matter, thus disproving accusations that sewage from a septic tank was leaking into the lake.

“This is what we said all along, it wasn’t sewer, this has proved it,” Grossman said. “We’ve brought in people from the (Department of Environmental Protection), they looked at it, they said the same thing everyone’s been saying the whole time, it’s not sewer.”

Ransom took E. coli and DNA bacteroid samples to test for human and animal feces in three locations, including a creek and culvert that flow into Wilson Lake. The tests are able to distinguish between human and animal fecal matter.

In the creek and culvert, less than 4.1 colonies of E. coli were found, Grossman noted. Ransom did find less than 2,400 colonies of coliform in one of the locations, however it was animal bacteria.

Members of the board, Grossman and Town Manager Rhonda Irish agreed the locations were in forested areas frequented by animals and near a park where people walk their dogs, likely resulting in the presence of animal feces.

Grossman also told the board about acting on previous action items, including plugging leaks with hay bales and putting dye in the septic tank to track potential leaks. Grossman said that he’s regularly checked on the septic tank after rainfalls and found no indication that the dye has spread.

Concerns were first raised at the select board’s Aug. 17 meeting about a faulty septic tank that could be the source of a sewage leak into Wilson Lake. Members of the public at that meeting, including Friends of Wilson Lake Board Director Barry Hathaway, disputed with Grossman on the accuracy of his tests. Hathaway claimed he took independent samplings in which the state Department of Health and Human Services in Augusta found there was a concerning level of E. coli and coliform.

The work by Ransom cost around $4,000, according to Grossman. There were other bills for testing and chemicals that Grossman bought for previous tests as well.

“This has been going on a while, there’s a lot of town money … town taxes involved in this … because somebody’s throwing a conniption because they didn’t get their way. I personally feel we need to bill them for Ransom and for my work,” Grossman said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Hathaway again raised concerns about the potential leakage. He disagreed with Grossman and Ransom’s method for testing, which involved testing the water, rather than the sediment underneath the water.

Hathaway reasserted that his samples were found to be “primarily raw sewage” and asked that the board “test under the locations where this was near the playground, Bass Park, leading directly into the lake.”

Selectperson Tom Saviello and Grossman both said that you cannot test solid matter for E. coli and coliform, that testing the water is a necessity.

Hathaway disagreed with this claim. He was eventually told by the board to stop commenting.

As a result, the board passed a motion to have Grossman investigate “if there is any procedure to test the solid material to characterize what it is.” The board did not take further action to initiate more testing.

In other business, Saviello said that the town of Wilton will be receiving donations for the Wilton Blueberry Festival from LEAP, which was collecting donations on behalf of the festival due to its 501(c)(3) status. Irish said an additional $1,649 was donated directly to the town. The board will decide what to do with the money, place it in a fund intended for the festival, etc.

Irish also raised the possibility of hiring a person to run at least three town events, including the Wilton Blueberry Festival. Irish said that the town of Lisbon has hired someone to run the town’s Moxie Festival, that this person reports to the recreation director.

A special town meeting would need to be held to approve using funds from the Municipal Tax Increment Financing district to pay the position’s salary.

Saviello and Irish will return to the board in a future meeting with a formal proposal.

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