Wiscasset selectmen

Report broaches idea of Wiscasset sewer plant move versus upgrade

Tue, 06/07/2022 - 8:45am

A hired firm’s document Wiscasset released in advance of the June 7 selectmen’s meeting raises the idea of moving the wastewater treatment plant, maybe to Federal Street or Mason Station. The point would be to address sea level rise and to replace rather than upgrade the Water Street plant, according to an executive summary of a report Town Manager Dennis Simmons said Wiscasset’s 2020 town meeting appropriated $55,000 toward, on keeping the system viable. He said William Olver from Olver Associates did the evaluation and report.

The summary notes, whatever the town does, grants could help.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection “has suggested ... the town evaluate the option of abandoning the present ... plant and building a new facility at higher elevation,” the summary states. It estimates costs of $32,070,000 to upgrade the plant, $46,070,000 to build one on Federal Street, or $55,070,000 for one at Mason Station.

Olver has contacted DEP to review it and set up a meeting, Simmons writes in his manager’s report, also released June 3. It notes he, Olver and plant superintendent Rob Lalli have talked funding options with U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development program’s Mike Jenkins. 

Simmons explained in email responses Monday, the Olver report “has been in the works for many months (and) mentions maybe relocating the plant to Federal Street or Mason Station. I think DEP had mentioned Federal Street before because of its close proximity to the current plant. The town owns the land that the school sits on. I would expect considerable opposition from the public for this option.

“As I mentioned in my manager's report, we will need to review this report with the DEP in order to determine next steps ... to keep the system viable,” Simmons told Wiscasset Newspaper.

Olver’s summary concludes, “The (system) has served Wiscasset residents well for nearly 60 years. (For) these facilities to continue serving the town for the next 20 to 30 years, significant capital improvements will be needed. The town’s facilities have reached the age where these improvements can no longer be delayed,” it states.

Also June 7, selectmen were set to hold a public hearing on recently proposed, 46% sewer rate hikes to help get revenues more in line with costs.

The board meets at 6 p.m. June 7 at Wiscasset Community Center; or attend via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89949074298?pwd=UllSQTRtd1RqQ1YvSEV5T0l6UWNsQT09

Meeting ID: 899 4907 4298 Passcode: 083446

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kduhVcebfc