BRUNSWICK — Residents of Bay Bridge Estates mobile home park in Brunswick have been without adequate water for several days, rendering many unable to do laundry, flush their toilets or take hot showers on bitterly cold mornings.

“I have only a trickle of water coming out of the faucet. It’s pretty ridiculous right now,” said Chris Chubbock, one of several hundred people who live at the private park, located about 2 miles off Route 1 in east Brunswick.

While picking up his mail Tuesday, Chris Chubbock talks about the water problems he and his mother, Tonya Drouin, have had while living at Bay Bridge Estates. “It’s pretty ridiculous right now,” he said.

The water problem is almost certainly related to the recent spate of subzero temperatures, but for some it’s just the latest in an ongoing decline of services provided to residents by the park’s owner, Portland-based BBE LLC.

Dean Blair said he’s seen his rent go up five times in the five years he’s lived at Bay Bridge Estates, but services have declined.

“I think this water thing has finally put people over the edge,” he said.

The park does not have a tenants’ association but some residents plan to meet later this week to discuss whether to take legal action against the park owner.

Brunswick Town Manager John Eldridge said the town has gotten a torrent of complaints over the last week and is monitoring the situation.

“Certainly if it’s a public health crisis, we’ll be looking at what we can do,” he said. “The most frustrating thing for people seems to be a lack of information.”

Messages left for representatives of BBE LLC were not returned on Tuesday.

The company is partially owned by Michael Liberty, a Portland developer who was a major player in the city’s real estate business in the 1980s and early 1990s. He also has developed housing projects in Colorado and produced movies in Hollywood.

Last summer, Liberty was sentenced to four months in prison and fined $100,000 for federal campaign finance violations.

At the Bay Bridge Estates office on Tuesday, the on-site manager, Dick Hathaway, was not present.

Perry Estabrook, a contractor from H2O Pumps of West Bath, was there to respond to water-based complaints and said he’s been busy. Estabrook said he wouldn’t comment on the park’s management or any of the tenants’ concerns but explained the problem as he saw it.

Perry Estabrook of H20 Pumps Inc. of West Bath removes snow from the skirting around a home at Bay Bridge Estates while checking for water leaks Tuesday.

The mobile home park has 487 lots and roughly 400 of them are filled. The park is not served by town water, which means water provided to each of the residences comes from a pair of wells.

Estabrook said the ongoing drought has left the wells in that area at a low level. That, coupled with higher-than-average usage in mid-December, has created a massive water shortage. The company, he said, has been forced to monitor the water level and even limit supply to residents in order to avoid having the wells run dry.

Estabrook said he’s been looking for any leaks that might be causing water usage to spike but so far he hasn’t found any. He said the problem could be stemming from homeowners leaving their faucets on a slow but steady drip to guard against pipes freezing. “People don’t realize, but you can go through a lot of water doing that, especially if enough homeowners are doing it,” he said.

Chubbock and Blair don’t buy that explanation. They say water problems have been going on for a long time. Last summer, residents were told to avoid watering their lawns.

Tiffany Bailey, another Bay Bridge tenant, has been unable to use her bath since Dec. 30. She’s worried about pipes breaking because she doesn’t have the money to fix them.Bailey said she believes that the park’s owner is acting illegally by choking off the water supply.

“Lack of adequate water service is a breach of the implied warranty on habitability,” Bailey said in an email. “Water is included in our lot rent, which is indiscriminately being raised each year, with no services added or improved.”

Bailey said she plans to pay her rent directly to the town of Brunswick, “to be held in escrow until an investigation is completed, minus deductions for any additional expenses I and my housemate may incur as a result of this illegal action.”

Residents were sympathetic to local management and directed their anger more at the corporation that owns the park.

Blair said he heard from a neighbor who talked to someone at BBE LLC earlier in the day Tuesday.

“She said the response was that the problem was being blown out of proportion by people on Facebook,” he said. “I’m not sure that’s the response they should be having.”

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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