The Fryeburg Water Company was originally established as the Fryeburg Aqueduct Corporation in 1813 to "bring water in subterraneous pipes, to any place within said town of Fryeburgh." (An act to establish the Fryeburgh Aqueduct Corporation). In 1879 the Fryeburg Water Company was incorporated “for the purpose of conveying to the village of Fryeburg a supply of pure water for domestic and other purposes.” according to the Documentary History of American Water-works, 2015, by Morris A. Pierce. Two amendments to the Fryeburg Water Company charter allowed it to purchase the East Conway Water Co. the Company to sell stocks of private equity. For most of its history the Fryeburg Water Co. pumped water from wells #1 and #2 near the natural spring which flows out of Wards Brook Aquifer into Lovewell Pond. Today, the first two wells are primarily for bulk water sales and a new well #3, farther south on Porter Road, is the main source of public water with a gravity feed tank at the top of Stark’s Mountain to maintain adequate water pressure for ratepayers.
The Fryeburg Water District, is a recent entity. In recent years, the community of Fryeburg has shown an interest in public ownership of the water delivery system. In 2005, the Water District was established by the Maine Legislature and amended its charter two years later allowing the public to “acquire property and franchises of the Fryeburg Water Company.” The District was determined to be the service area, within Fryeburg village, where public water service was available. The boundaries of the district are different from the boundaries of the town of Fryeburg which is much larger than the range of the public water system. Everyone living within the District boundaries, whether they receive water from the public utility or from a private well, are considered residents. And all district residents by law are eligible to vote for the Water District Board of Trustees. As elected public servants, the FWD trustees are beholden directly to the electorate and welcome public input on decisions regarding the safety and security of our local drinking water. Though the private Fryeburg Water Co. owns the sources and delivery system, the District is in place when the opportunity for public ownership arises.
Despite their differences, the Water Company and the Water District are both regulated under the public utility law. The charge to provide adequate and affordable water service is given to both the Company and the District. The authority to sell water in bulk and enter into contracts with other entities for the purpose of providing water service is also the right of both the Company and the District.
Water is an essential need, and because we have a well-established public utility, we can all agree that water matters -- to everyone. In recent years, people have voiced concern about the safety of the public water system due to its age and its condition. Today the public water system is managed by a third party, Maine Water, Inc. who have begun to systematically assess the condition of and commence updating of the infrastructure. Problems or concerns regarding your water service or billing should be directed to Maine Water through social media, a phone call or their website, www.mainewater.com.
The Fryeburg Water District also maintains a website of information for Fryeburg residents regarding issues that surround water availability and affordability. The Fryeburg Water District Trustees are committed to serving the public interest, and we invite you to contact us through our website www.fryeburgwaterdistrict.org. We welcome the public to our monthly meetings which are customarily held at 7 PM on the second Monday of the month at the Legion Hall on Bradley Street. Our next meeting will be on Dec. 16, 2019.