MOUNT DESERT — Pending voter approval, perhaps at a special town meeting sometime this fall, the fire station in Somesville will be renovated to provide living quarters for two firefighters and two EMS personnel.
In the meantime, there is something of a mystery to be solved.
When the fire station was built in 1985 at the corner of Main Street and Pretty Marsh Road, a well was dug to provide water for the kitchen and restrooms.
But that well was soon abandoned because of tannin contamination from the former sawmill on the site.
(Tannins are found in the bark and other tissues of some trees. If consumed in large enough quantities, they can interfere with digestion and metabolism and hinder the blood’s absorption of iron.)
Since the onsite well was abandoned, the fire station has shared a well located on neighboring property. Now, Fire Chief Mike Bender would like to have a domestic water source on site exclusively for the fire station’s use.
The abandoned wellhead does not extend up to the surface of the ground, and the exact location of the well is unknown. Last week, the Board of Selectmen authorized Bender to pay the engineering firm Haley Ward $7,000 from a reserve account to provide answers.
“The objective of the groundwater well assessment will be to find and evaluate the buried and abandoned drinking water well to determine if the well may be used as a supply well for the existing fire station and, if not, to assess possible replacement options,” a Haley Ward project manager and geologist said in a letter to Bender.
“Haley Ward will subcontract with Northeast Geophysical Services of Bangor to attempt to locate the abandoned buried wellhead.”