U.S. Water News Online
PROSPECT, Maine -- Attorneys with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture are investigating
a nearly $2 million loan-grant that has erupted into a full-fledged
water feud between
the Maine towns of Searsport and Prospect.
The Rural Economic Community Development service (RECD), formerly
known as the
Farmers Home Administration, in 1993 approved a $1.6 million loan and
grant to the Searsport Water District to convert from a reservoir
system to a
groundwater supply. While the detailed reasons remain unclear, the
drilled a well within the city limits of nearby Prospect. Only when
engineering and survey reports did residents learn the well was
actually a few
hundred feet over the town line. While the water district
acknowledged the error, it
claimed that the drilling was an honest mistake.
A resulting public controversy over the siting of the well
prompted Prospect to enact an
ordinance prohibiting the commercial export of its groundwater.
Earlier this year,
however, the Searsport district was granted a special petition in the
to expand its groundwater rights into the town limits of
Prospect subsequently has appealed to the RECD for a ruling on the
application of federal
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