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Rockport mulls sewage treatment plant options

By Daniel Dunkle | Nov 25, 2020
Mark Kelley

Rockport — Members of the Select Board acting as Wastewater Commissioners approved a $10,000 study of options including constructing one or more wastewater treatment plants for the town.

Town Manager Bill Post said the study would include identifying potential parcels for sewage treatment facilities and it would look at use and rates in the town. Most importantly, it would provide detailed cost estimates for all options. He said the study would take about two months.

It was noted at the meeting that the town is dealing with problems with the current system and that the costs for wastewater treatment in the town are too high. Denise Munger said they had been told it would not cost more to have the town run its own wastewater treatment system.

Some Rockport residents use Camden's wastewater treatment system and others Rockland's system. In addition, Rockport bills include debt repayment for the town's collection system and an administration fee. Factors impacting increased use include people staying at home more due to the pandemic. Wastewater billing is based on water use, which is measured by MaineWater, the local water company.

Jeff Hamilton said he believes the dollar figure would likely "scare us to death." He pointed out it would need to be a 24-hour operation with six to eight employees. In addition, he raised concerns about other costs of operation such as purchase of special chemicals for treatment.

Munger saw the value of the study to find out if the town is getting the best for its money. "We have the highest sewage rates in the area," she said.

Mark Kelley said the town does not know what is wrong with the present system and it does not have a plant. He said now the town is considering a plant or possibly two, and it cannot figure out the inflow problems it has now.

The board voted unanimously to go forward with the study.

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