In 1923, Maine’s Legislature passed an Act to Incorporate the Auburn Water District, which “shall have power to adopt bylaws, not inconsistent with the general laws of the state, to prevent pollution of the water of Lake Auburn and to preserve the purity of said water of Lake Auburn, and may prescribe penalties for the violation thereof, which said bylaws shall have the same force and effect as municipal ordinances … Said Auburn Water District shall have the power and authority to complain by bill in equity to the supreme judicial court to enjoin, prevent or restrain any persons, firms or corporations from polluting the water of Lake Auburn for domestic purposes, or render it injurious to health.”

Auburn citizens ratified this Sept. 10, 1923.

For 100 years, we have protected the lake by limiting development, acquiring properties, planting trees, treating runoff, and creating the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission.

The proposed septic ordinance is a Trojan horse, greenlighting ill-advised development in the Lake Auburn watershed rather than continuing to restrict it like we have done since 1923. While there is little doubt that requiring existing homeowners to replace failing septic systems in the watershed would benefit the lake, new septic standards allowing potentially 100-plus new houses to be built in the watershed would not.

Accelerating the need for a filtration plant, and raising water rates by increasing development, does not advance science or the public interest, but waves a white surrender flag to self-serving private real estate interests.

Richard Whiting, Ward 1 city councilor, Auburn

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