People have seen the signs, “Protect Lake Auburn.” The general meaning needs no explanation, but the specifics deserve elaboration.

Lake Auburn is the drinking water supply for Lewiston and Auburn. It has a waiver, allowing its water to be drunk by citizens without being filtered. Only 37 lakes in the country have such a waiver.

But Lake Auburn might lose that waiver, due to climate change (beyond our immediate control) and pollution (within our control).

When people put a sign saying “Protect Lake Auburn” on their lawns, I believe they’re asking the governing powers to do everything possible to keep the waiver, because if it’s lost, the two cities will have to build a filtration plant. Everybody’s water bill will go up, perhaps even double. The plant will cost a lot to build and maintain.

There are two issues in question. The first is the rezoning motion passed by the Auburn City Council recently in which the Gracelawn gravel pit area was rezoned to allow building homes and businesses. Many people want to reverse that zoning change and keep the lake pristine. A petition drive is underway to do that.

The other issue is Auburn’s septic-system ordinance. A proposed change would allow more homes to be built all around the watershed. Many people think the septic system standards should be strengthened, but not in a way that will allow more homes to be built. This issue is still being debated.

People should let their councilors know how they feel. Get involved.

Ben Lounsbury, Auburn


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