Maine: Norway - Three-Town Effort Protects Wellhead Outside Town's


   Norway is a small town in southwestern Maine, part of a geographically-linked tri-
   town area together with South Paris and Oxford.  In 1965, Norway installed its
   single municipal ground water well, slightly less than one-half mile beyond its
   border, in the Town of Oxford. Location of the well outside of Norway's
   jurisdiction has recently presented some major challenges with respect to source
   water protection. When the well was installed,  Norway and the surrounding area
   was mostly farmland; however, the region has developed quickly in the last few
   decades. The zone around the well in question is now a commercial area that
   contains several gas stations, restaurants, and other businesses associated with
   rapid commercial development. Such development jeopardizes the quality of the
   town's water, and the inability of Norway to regulate the growth surrounding the
   well is frustrating to those working to preserve the purity of the town's drinking

   Priority Contamination Threat

   Bacteria, fertilizer, fuel constituents, inorganic contaminants, MTBE, nitrates,
   pesticides from a commercial area are the priority contamination threats.

   Local Involvement and Developing the Protection Plan

   Because Norway's water supply well is located in another town, it was necessary
   for Norway to develop a local team approach to protect its water supply.  Norway,
   South Paris and Oxford all agreed to hold  public  meetings to discuss drinking
   water protection. Several public meetings were held in 1994 in all three towns for
   general input on development of the Source Water Protection Plan, including
   development of a Wellhead Protection (WHP) ordinance. The ordinance  was
   presented to each of the three towns for a vote and was passed in all three.
   Educational materials were distributed to homeowners regarding ground water

   Management Measures

   In 1988, Norway began the process of developing a wellhead protection  study of
   the area around its well. In cooperation with Oxford and South Paris, and with
   assistance from the Maine Rural Water Association, Norway acquired grants and
   established a framework for program initiatives. A hydrogeological firm was hired
   to assist the  town in delineating the well's zone of contribution. Three zones were
   delineated based on time-of-travel (TOT) calculations. Zone I has a 200-day
   TOT, Zone II a 1,000-day TOT, and Zone  Ilia  2,500-day TOT.
Office of Water (4606M)                     816F100015                           January 2010

   This planning and foresight worked to the town's considerable advantage, when,
   in 1990, gasoline was discovered leaking from an underground storage tank just
   600 feet from the municipal well. Fortunately, the wellhead protection area had
   already been characterized and contingency measures had been planned.
   Consequently, the Town of Norway, together with the Maine Department of
   Environmental Protection, was able to determine the nature of the contamination
   and quickly shut down the well to contain the plume of fuel-related compounds.
   Thanks to the earlier wellhead protection study, considerable information on
   aquifer conditions was available in the area of the Norway well. The quick
   response prevented contamination  from affecting the well; in fact, no
   contamination was ever detected at the well. As a precaution, and to avoid
   drawing the contaminant plume closer, the well was shut down for 15 months,
   while the contamination was pumped, and the water treated until clean and
   returned to the nearby river. During that period, the Norway Water Department
   purchased water from the Town of South Paris via a preexisting water
   connection, through a contingency agreement that had been reached before the

   After the contamination  incident was resolved, the Town of Norway continued
   with its wellhead  protection efforts.  Educational materials were developed to
   inform homeowners and businesses about steps to protect ground water.  In
   addition, a Wellhead Protection Ordinance was passed, modeled after a generic
   ordinance developed through an EPA Wellhead Demonstration Grant Project.
   This ordinance protects portions of  the wellhead protection area within Norway
   town limits by regulating priority land uses. Best Management Practices (BMPs)
   have been recommended for potential contaminant sources in the area. The
   Town of South Paris has adopted a similar ordinance to protect source water
   within its jurisdiction. The long-term vision is that each district within the tri-town
   area will agree to a requirement to notify the others when any threatening actions
   or events occur within the WHP area.

   Contingency Planning

   In addition to the agreements with South Paris and Oxford to purchase drinking
   water in case of an emergency, Norway has persuaded the Town of Oxford to
   equip all fire trucks with absorbent padding in the event of an accidental spill in
   the vicinity of the well, and to alert the Norway Water Department (NWD) if a spill
   occurs. For its part, Norway performs a comprehensive set of water quality
   analyses of six monitoring wells located around its municipal well during the
   spring and fall. If NWD officials suspect that the well is in danger, then monitoring
   may be performed more frequently. Future plans include a requirement under the
   Source Water Protection Program that each water district inform the others when
   any action or event occurs within the WHP area which could damage water

   Measuring Program Effectiveness
Office of Water (4606M)                     816F100015                           January 2010

   The effectiveness of Norway's drinking water protection program is measured
   both by regular monitoring of water quality and by the effectiveness of the town's
   response to accidents and other emergencies. Monitoring wells are checked
   once per year to ensure continued program effectiveness. Surveys of potential
   sources of contamination  are performed and updated periodically. Program
   effectiveness was demonstrated through the quick and effective response to an
   accidental gasoline spill that occurred in 1990. Rapid remedial action was
   possible, due to the extensive information that had been gathered through the
   source water protection program prior to the accident.


   Ryan Lippincott, General Manager
   Norway and Oxford Maine Water Districts
   19 Danforth Street
   Suite 2
   Norway, Maine 04268
Office of Water (4606M)                      816F100015                            January 2010