Waterboro Water District Trustee Dave Benton, left, talks with Hannaford representative Joel Lyons during a tabletop mock disaster exercise on Thursday. The supermarket is one of the district’s customers. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

WATERBORO — Picture this mock scenario: A tanker truck crashes, shearing off a fire hydrant, vastly drawing down the local water system’s reserves. At the same time, the crashed vehicle leaks large quantities of diesel and gasoline. The electric power fails throughout the community.

The event described above did not happen — but it or something like it could, emergency management officials say. And so on Thursday, about 50 representatives from local water districts, first responders, local and state government, emergency management personnel and others from around York County gathered to review how’d they respond if such an emergency did happen.

About 50 representatives from Waterboro and other local water districts, local and state governments, first responders and others gathered for a tabletop disaster in Waterboro on Thursday. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

The “tabletop” exercise was valuable to the Waterboro Water District, said Trustee Dave Benton. The district has 160 customers, many of whom are residential, but also includes the community’s three schools, a supermarket, Southern Maine Health Care’s walk-in clinic and associated complex, and a number of small businesses.

“It’s going well,” said Benton of the day-long exercise, where those involved in the scenario had to think about next steps in a plan to deal with the mock disaster. The event provided good food for thought, he said. He credited WWD Superintendent John Vacari and Matt Sampson with planning for what might transpire.

The event was sponsored by the Maine Drinking Water Program and the Maine Rural Water Association, it was held at the Massabesic Medical Center complex.

“We try to create a scenario that will challenge participants,” said MRWA Deputy Director Tom Bahun.

Once the scenario was laid out, participants were tasked with describing their decisions and actions to test each agency’s emergency response. Goals included role definition, building relationships between the various entities that would come into play in a real life situation, determining capabilities and more.

Waterboro Deputy Fire Chief Lisa Bennett was incident commander for the exercise.

“It went well. It was an eye-opener,” she said. Bennett said each agency knows in general the role of the other, but she said she hadn’t known the full extent of responsibility of all the agencies involved until the exercise played out.

Bahun said the exercise is one of several planned throughout the state this spring, primarily aimed at rural water systems, though there will be some exceptions, like upcoming tabletop exercises in Bangor and Rockport.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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