Trustees of the Lincolnville Sewer District are moving forward with a plan to rebid the installation of a new wastewater treatment plant, after bids came in higher than expected.

The plant is one part of the $3.2 million project, to increase capacity for wastewater treatment from the current 10 commercial users, to 66 properties along the coast in the Lincolnville Beach area.

District trustees have ordered an Amphidrome System made by FRMA in Rockland, Mass., which offers customized wastewater treatment solutions, underground installation and a small footprint. The treatment system will be housed in a building of about 400 square feet, which serves mainly to protect the electronics that run it, Trustee Paul Lippman explained. The plant will be located on a half acre lot between the Maine State Ferry parking lot and Route 1 at Lincolnville Beach. It will be hooked up to the existing users of the current treatment plant and will use the same effluent pipe.

The cost of the new treatment plant was estimated to be $1 million by Woodward and Curran engineers, which designed the system. Two bids came in, one at $2 million and the other closer to $2.5 million, Lippman said. Woodward and Curran is seeking additional bidders. Updated plans will be discussed at the district's next meeting, tentatively set for Oct. 29.

The new wastewater treatment system will have the capacity to serve properties along Route 1, from Windsor Chairmakers to Dot's, and along Route 173 from Route 1 to the Schoolhouse Museum. It will replace the existing sewer system built in 1991, which is located near McLaughlin's Lobster Shack.

The new sewage treatment plant will address water quality improvement at Lincolnville Beach, where 62 recorded bacteria tests, during a 12 year period, exceeded state and federal safety standards.

Sewer district trustees have made the case that the new plant will meet the sewage treatment needs of existing businesses and lay the groundwork for business expansion in the beach area. It will serve numerous properties in the beach area with aging, or undocumented, sewer systems, and other properties with insufficient soil or square footage to install private sewer systems.

Lippman and Marc Impagliazzo are current trustees, and there is an opening for a third trustee to replace Jennifer Temple. Lippman is one of the original trustees of the sewer district, along with Temple and Niel Wienges, when the district was created by state legislation in 2012.

Funding for the $3.2 million wastewater treatment system includes a $1 million grant and a $1.6 million loan from USDA Rural Development; a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $250,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission. The town of Lincolnville approved $19,000 in annual funding, for a 10- year period, at a special town meeting in Feb. 2018.

Local, state and federal support for the development of a new sewer district at Lincolnville Beach goes back many years. Selectmen first discussed creating a new sewer district back in 2009 and later made a formal request to the state legislature to create the district. Both of Maine's U.S. Senators, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King, have supported federal funding for the project.