I am perplexed as to why our community enables the ongoing incompetency exhibited by those we entrust with protecting our local environment.

Whenever there is an event such as Sunday July 19, we are given excuses such as “malfunction” and phrases such as “Our disinfection system was interrupted” In the early afternoon of that day, I was at a popular waterfront facility I frequent and noticed a strong sewer-like smell. At the time, I attributed it to low tide and unusually warm temperatures. However, given this disturbing Monday morning news, I can’t help to think there may be a connection.

In my opinion Portland Water District needs to be held accountable for incompetence. Two years ago, nearly two million gallons of sewerage was released into the bay. At that point an employee error was to blame. This week, it was CMP and a bad-luck generator to blame. What really happened was poor planning and bad process. A procedure that results in an employee’s honest mistake causing an enormous spill is bad process. One hundred percent of that blame is on PWD leadership. Likewise, a failed generator is not a viable excuse. How often are they tested? Is there a battery back-up system?

“Dilution is the solution for pollution” is an old school phrase used in the wastewater management business. Casco Bay has come a long ways from this mentality. The City of Portland, Friends of Casco Bay and the community need to hold Portland Water District accountable for these preventable events and for making sure they don’t happen moving forward.

Chuck McCatherin

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