WILTON — Independent testing determined sewage is not flowing into Wilson Lake, according to Water and Wastewater Superintendent Heinz Grossman, despite concerns that a septic tank was leaking into the water.

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.”

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, argued 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.

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, though it was determined to be animal bacteria.

Members of the board, Grossman and Town Manager Rhonda Irish said 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.

“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 at the Tuesday meeting.

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.

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 solid matter cannot be tested for E. coli and coliform and testing the water is a necessity.

Hathaway disagreed with this claim and 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 conduct more testing.


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