Meet the Moms Who Got it Done
What does it take to pass safe drinking water law for children and families?
Our victory Monday in the Maine State House—safe drinking water law, passed with a strong, bipartisan veto override—will boost well-water testing and protect thousands of children and families in Maine's rural areas from drinking water contaminated by arsenic, which causes bladder, lung, and skin cancer, and harms children’s developing brains.
Joanie, Megan, Heather, Regina, and Gail drove miles across Maine many times, meeting with legislators and overcoming nervousness about public speaking and interviews with reporters.
They shared stories of what they had learned—often through their own frightening, frustrating experiences—about the health impacts of arsenic on children and families.
They fought to protect their neighbors, to make sure Mainers drinking well water (more than half the state's population) know they must test it for arsenic and other contaminants, or risk their families’ health.
Why is this their fight?
- Joanie moved her family back to the rural Maine farm where she grew up, only to discover arsenic in their well water at thirty times the EPA limit for safety. Health issues have appeared within her family, and she is concerned about her farm animals' longevity.
- Wendy "still feels guilty, as a mom" that she didn't learn she should test her family’s well until a study in Kennebec and York county schools found lower IQs among children exposed to arsenic in well water. Testing revealed her family's well water was contaminated by arsenic at ten times the EPA safety limit.
- Heather didn’t know about arsenic in well water until, holding her baby in a friend's kitchen one evening, she leaned forward for water from the sink and the friend cried out to warn her the water was arsenic contaminated.
- Regina started speaking out about arsenic in well water after teaching special education students in rural Maine and seeing learning challenges impact children, families, and teachers as well as school budgets.
- Gail teaches Colby College students about how arsenic occurs naturally in Maine bedrock and drilled wells—detailed, scientific information she has painstakingly shared with Maine legislators.
These moms have changed lives for Maine families—but they haven’t quit, yet. They’re working with us now to support a bill before the Legislature to help Maine children and families have access to safe drinking water, no matter how challenging it may for their families to afford water treatment.
Brave and amazing, Joanie, Wendy, Heather, Regina, and Gail have Maine families' backs.
You will help us continue working for safe drinking water for all Maine families.
Emily, Emma, and the rest of the team at the Strategy Center
Organizing and Outreach Manager
Environmental Health Campaign Manager