Town Helps Residents End Water Rationing

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In follow-up to our post last week, a real world example of when it is necessary for a municipality to intervene in a landlord tenant situation arose in Brunswick.

Because the wells were failing to keep up with demand of the 1,200 residents of the Bay Bridge Estates Mobile Home Park, its owners began rationing water by restricting supply during what they considered off-peak times during the day. This caused numerous complaints to the Town office from residents who were unable to adequately bathe, wash dishes, and do laundry. As Town Attorney for Brunswick, we sent a letter to the owners of the park pursuant to 14 M.R.S. § 6026-A, demanding that they provide both a short-term and long-term plan to address the water shortage within twenty-four hours. What followed was an exchange of correspondence, emails, and conference calls, which resulted in the owners agreeing to immediately begin drilling a new well and to pay, in the meantime, for water to be provided by the Brunswick Topsham Water District to fill their twelve 5,000-gallon storage tanks as necessary. The trucking of water allows residents to have full access to water without rationing or other restrictions. 

The new well is expected to be online by January 19, and will meet all anticipated water needs for the park going forward. In this case, on behalf of the Town, we were able to assist the residents through the crisis. The Town did not have to expend the costs of trucking the water, but was willing and prepared to do so and recover its costs under the statute if the owners had not agreed. This is clearly a case where it was necessary and helpful for a municipality to intervene in a dispute between tenants and their landlord.