Sewer extension bond up for approval Nov. 5
Rockport — Extension of sewer and wastewater systems beneath Route 1 in Rockport could begin in the spring if voters approve a bond funding the project Nov. 5.
“If the residents of Rockport approve, we hope to begin construction as soon as we can in the spring,” Select Board Chairman William Chapman said. “We would like to start in late March or early April and be finished by June, so that we won’t have to deal with the summer traffic.”
Completion of the project means connecting two existing systems, giving the town more flexibility when it comes to pumping wastewater to treatment plants in Camden or Rockland. Should either plant have to reduce the amount of wastewater is can accept, the remaining can be shifted to the other facility.
Businesses on the section of Route 1 currently are not able to expand and new businesses are unable to be constructed due to the limitations in the current septic system. The belief is by going forward with the expansion project; it will encourage growth and bring the town much needed additional property tax dollars.
The town is seeking approval of a $889,667 bond. The estimated total cost of the project is $1.1 million, but part of the cost may be defrayed because of Maine Water's plan to extend its water mains at the same time, sharing some of the construction costs.
The town is also applying for grants that are tied to maintaining jobs and creating new ones as a result of the expansion project, according to a pamphlet produced by the town.
The bond is expected to be repaid during a 20-year period using Tax Increment Financing District revenue.
Users can expect to see no increase in charges due to the project, according to the pamphlet.
Currently customers are billed a user and debt fee to be connected to the town sewer system. The debt fee is expected to remain the same, but within a few years a decrease should be seen as the amount of debit is paid down, the pamphlet states. When the original debt is paid, the Waste Water Commissioners plan to use a portion of the debt fee for further repairs and upkeep.
The user fee is a fixed cost paid by residents for connecting to the sewer system.
Residents that have town sewer pass by their property but choose not to tie-in will still be charged a debt fee but will not be charged a user fee. According to the town’s policy, if a resident has a working septic system, they are not required to tie-in the town system until the current one fails.
During the 1980s Rockport was forced to deal environmental issues caused by the direct dumping of raw sewage directly into Rockport Harbor and Clam Cove by private residences and businesses, the pamphlet states. The federal and state governments mandated the town construct a wastewater collection system to prevent further environmental damage.
Two separate systems were designed and built, one to service Rockport Village and the other service the residents of Glen Cove.
At that time, town officials worked with the city of Rockland and the town of Camden on agreements to collect the wastewater produced. Wastewater collected from the Glen Cove neighborhood is now sent to Rockland, while the village waste is piped to Camden.
More recent extensions to the original system serve Camden Hills Regional High School and service to properties along Commercial Street from Route 90 south to Elwood Avenue was constructed in 1989.
Town officials developed a Comprehensive Plan in 2004, highlighting one of the highest priorities as connecting the two existing systems.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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