NEW GLOUCESTER — The New Gloucester Water District’s public supply has never exceeded the standard for lead levels, Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Fitch said this week.

He said recently published information was unclear about the source of the water samples being tested for lead. The samples were taken from 10 of the district’s 51 customers homes and businesses.

“Our water supply has never exceeded the lead level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Fitch said, “but two of 10 samples taken directly from homes and businesses exceeded the Maine Drinking Water program threshold.

“During our first year, extensive samplings were taken,” Fitch said. “The sampling sites were chosen of houses that are of a certain age when lead was used, for example, lead pipes, lead solder and brass fittings that have lead.”

He said the pH level of the district’s water is acidic and when water moves through the system, it creates an imbalance chemically. Lead can dissolve into water from lead solder and brass faucets, fittings and valves, he said.

The higher-than-allowed lead levels are likely a result of old brass plumbing fixtures or old lead-based solder during the collection of the samples, former Board of Trustees Chairman Steven Johnson said.

An email from Darren Brann, compliance officer for the Maine Drinking Water Program, to Michael Broadbent of the Auburn Water District, which runs the New Gloucester Water District station, said all 10 sites passed tests for lead and copper samples in June and September 2015.

“Because New Gloucester is now back in compliance with lead and copper, (the Auburn Water District) will no longer need to collect water quality parameter samples on a quarterly basis within the distribution or post treatment,” Brann wrote.

The New Gloucester Water District began operating in 2014, developing its public water source in an aquifer off Bald Hill Road.

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