Firm charged in tainted water case
OSSIPEE, N.H. - The water company in Tamworth has been charged with knowingly delivering water to customers that was contaminated with uranium.
Indictments in Superior Court in Ossipee accuse the Lakes Region Water Co. of knowingly delivering the contaminated water during a three-week period last year from a well that state environmental officials had ordered shut off.
Lawyer Jim Rosenberg said the family-owned company, based in Moultonborough, cut off the tainted water as soon as it was brought to the company's attention.
Lakes Region Water has 1,606 customers scattered around Campton, Conway, Freedom, Gilford, Laconia, Moultonborough, Ossipee, Tamworth, Thornton, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro, according to the Public Utilities Commission's website.
Separately, some residents in Tamworth are suing the company based on a monthlong fecal bacteria scare in summer 2007. The suit says businesses, including two inns, lost customers last August because the water was contaminated.
Lakes Region has until Oct. 7 to respond to the civil suit. The company referred a call for comment to Rosenberg yesterday, but he said he did not represent the company in the civil case.
JoAnne Rainville, a nurse who is one of the plaintiffs, said people do not know how long they had been drinking the contaminated water.
"Obviously it's a health concern. The water was polluted with high levels of uranium and arsenic," she told the Conway Daily Sun. "People right now are living under a kind of a shadow of what are the long-range effects."
Company official Tom Mason Jr. told the Sun a year ago the well had only been in use a short time and had been turned on only to clean something.