Water testing

BAR HARBOR — Town councilors voted 6-1 last week to approve a water quality study for 2015 funded by cruise ship fees following a split 5-5 vote at the Cruise Ship Committee on the proposal.

Councilor Anne Greenlee had worked over the winter with Town Manager Cornell Knight and Marine Resources Committee chair Chris Peterson to make changes to the testing program led by Jane Disney of the Community Environmental Health Lab at MDI Biological Laboratory. A formal request for proposals was not extended by the town for the work.

“We wanted to do a design review if the study was to be continued,” Greenlee said at the meeting. The 2015 water testing season began April 1, and the first cruise ships arrived earlier this month.

Changes to the study design this year, Peterson told the council, include testing for fewer variables and sharing data with Acadia National Park programs and with Maine Healthy Beaches. Each water sample taken near a cruise ship will be matched with a control sample taken away from cruise ships, in order to determine whether any issues are attributable to the ship’s presence.

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