“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” Some islanders have been experiencing Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s words first-hand, as customers of the Vinalhaven Water District have encountered a range of problems so far this month.
A leak in the system caused the water level in the town’s Standpipe to drop significantly, and as a result, those with town water experienced low pressure, water loss and some dirty water from valve operations. Maine Water conducted systematic leak surveys to find the problem area, which showed the Pond Street line needed repairs.
The water level in the tank then increased to 50 percent but declined again slowly as something new let go. More leak detection was conducted on the east side of town but no more major leaks were identified as of deadline. According to an update from Maine Water on Friday, Jan. 10, the water mains haven’t been the cause of the water loss, as all but one leak thus far were home plumbing system leaks. Everyone is encouraged to report bubbling water or ice build-up to Maine Water’s Peter Farrelly to help determine any more issues.
The school’s water pressure decreased throughout the day Wednesday, Jan. 8, which made it impossible to keep the bathrooms, cafeteria and the rest of the building running. Consequently, school was let out at 1:15 p.m. that day and was canceled all together Thursday. Students and staff returned Friday but were once again released early at 1:15 p.m. because of the waning water pressure.
The lack of water caused several changes in the high school basketball teams’ schedules last week. The varsity games against North Haven, which were supposed to be played at home, had to be relocated across the thoroughfare on Jan. 8 after the school’s early release. The Lady Vikings beat the Hawks 59 to 32, while the boys lost 83 to 41. The teams will meet again Wednesday, Jan. 29 for a rematch, which will now be played at home instead of away.
The Vikings had more unexpected away games last Friday and Saturday. The Rangeley Lakers were supposed to travel to the island for games on Jan. 10 and 11 but ended up getting home court advantage, as the water pressure at Vinalhaven School did not improve. This was only the first bit of bad luck for the Vikings. On the way to Rangeley, the bus carrying the two teams broke down in Farmington and another bus had to pick them up to continue the road trip. Once there, the Vinalhaven girls lost the first match Friday night 54 to 26, and again Saturday morning 65 to 28.
The boys’ games turned out to be nail-biters, with the Vikings looking to secure their first win of the season. Friday night’s contest went into double overtime, but the Lakers came out on top by just one point, winning 47-46. Saturday’s game was another close one, but the outcome was more favorable for the Vikings, who won 53 to 50.
The ride home from Rangeley was an icy one, but there turned out to be no reason to rush back to Rockland; the last two ferryboats were canceled on Saturday, and the teams had to stay on the mainland overnight, finally returning to the island Sunday. Assuming the water problems have been fixed this week, the Vikings will play the Richmond Bobcats at home Friday, Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 18. Hopefully everyone’s luck improves a little by then.
If you have any news to include in this column, please contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.