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Berwick issues drinking water advisory

The town of Berwick is advising against allowing children to drink local tap water.

BERWICK, Maine — The town of Berwick is reporting elevated levels of manganese in local tap water, advising against children drinking the water for more than 10 days out of the year. 

The town says the Berwick Water Department has been experiencing difficulty over the last two weeks with discoloration of residential tap water, caused by elevated levels of manganese, according to a drinking water advisory released on Friday. 

The current level of manganese is reportedly measuring "0.4 mg/L, which is over the 0.3 mg/L advisory level for young children, and is under the 1.0 mg/L advisory limit for adults," the town said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. 

The EPA suggests children younger than 6 months do not consume water with this level of concentration for more than 10 days per year. 

"This does not imply that intakes above these levels will necessarily cause health problems," the release stated.

For adults, it is safe to brush teeth, bathe, cook, use ice, and wash dishes, according to the water department. 

The Manganese level is currently at 0.4 mg/L, which is over the 0.3 mg/L advisory level for young children, and is under...

Posted by Town of Berwick, Maine on Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The town said gallon jugs of water will be available at the town hall and fire station Monday through Thursday from 8 to 5 p.m., except when the fire department is on calls. Residents may pick up two gallons at a time, according to the post. 

The Berwick Water Department gets its water from the Salmon River, which is experiencing high levels of manganese during current drought conditions, the release stated.

Such levels have surpassed the water department's treatment capabilities, according to the report. 

For more information on Manganese, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/eohp/wells/documents/manganese.pdf

Posted by Town of Berwick, Maine on Friday, July 29, 2022

A $1.2 million bond and $2.8 million in federal funding have been approved by voters to address the town's drinking water issues. The release stated pilot testing for a new pre-treatment process is set to begin later this year. 

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