As an environmentalist, humanist and ratepayer, I’m hoping Auburn and Lewiston residents will advocate for themselves regarding our drinking water. There are myriad considerations concerning the debate around development within the watershed.

The science is complex, as are the arguments. Let me attempt to simplify. Any new housing within the watershed without more stringent environmental restrictions endangers our waiver of filtration. The issue isn’t about septic systems; the 36-inch rule has been in place since 1974. The phosphorus offload is caused upstream and by vehicles, loss of canopy, lawns and impervious surfaces in the watershed.

The proposed septic and zoning changes allow development on currently unbuildable lots and community septic, creating more housing in the watershed, which already may potentially double. While the intent of LD 2003 is noble, there was no consideration put into ecologically sensitive zoning districts.

Regarding the politics, calling folks NIMBYs when shelters or sheriff’s offices aren’t permitted in your town is laughable. Calling current zoning racist when this gambit could cause ratepayer costs to triple is rich. Telling Lewiston residents to stay on our side of the river while threatening our water supply as Auburn’s sanitation and sewage is treated here is appalling.

A handful of people stand to gain while the second largest population center in Maine stands to foot the bill for this development.

Silence on this issue is approval. The watershed needs folks to act.

We need to hear clearly from citizens, leaders and candidates now, before it is too late to act.

Joshua Nagine, Lewiston

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