Wayne officials are urging town residents to take care as the level of Androscoggin Lake has risen by more than 10 feet this week — and more rain was expected Friday into Saturday.

Real estate agent Merline Douglas streams a Facebook Live video of flooding at the state boat launch on Friday on Androscoggin Lake in Wayne. Water was also in the yards of two nearby homes. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

The combination of rain and snow melt has caused the level of rivers across the state to rise this spring, and in Wayne — where the Dead River drains Androscoggin Lake into Androscoggin River — the river is so high that water from the Dead River is backing up into the lake.

“The water has come up enough to monkey with some people’s furnaces and water heaters,” said Sean Goodwin, director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency.

“To my knowledge,” he said Friday afternoon, “it has not gotten into any living spaces. Most of the homes I’ve seen have been up on piers or foundations, but there are some homes where you have to wade through water to get to the front porch.”

Goodwin said no houses have been destroyed.

William Watson, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, said the level of the Androscoggin River has been dropping over the last couple of days, but with 1 to 2 inches of rain expected, the level of the river is expected to rise between Friday and Sunday.

“It’s going to be mostly showery for the next week, so hopefully, maybe we’ll start to see a little bit of lowering toward the middle part of next week,” Watson said. “Then we’ll have a little dry weather spell.”

High water from Androscoggin Lake surrounds one of two homes on Route 133 near the state boat launch on Friday in Wayne. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Since temperatures have started to rise across the region, the snow pack has started to melt, contributing to high water levels in the state’s river systems.

While the snow pack continues to diminish, there is still snow on the ground in western and northern Maine.

“We’re getting closer and closer to not having to worry about runoff, but we’re not there yet,” Watson said.

On Wednesday, town officials posted a notice on Facebook about the high water levels, characterizing them as “20-year flood stage levels.” At that time, the Dead River Dam was 3 feet under water and the river was flowing into the lake.

Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky did not immediately return a call for comment.

One of the things town and county officials are watching for is the number of septic leach fields that might be affected by high water.

Goodwin said some older leach fields could leach out into the lake, but when the Dead River starts flowing from the lake to river, the lake is expected to be flushed out. He said the Dead River is one of the few that’s known to reverse its flow without human intervention.


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