Sewer plan hinges on town's $190K

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 28, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich The proposed sewer treatment plant for Lincolnville Beach depends on a guarantee of $190,000 in funding from the town of Lincolnville.

LINCOLNVILLE — The federal agency funding a new wastewater treatment facility at Lincolnville Beach requires the town guarantee $190,000 for the project over the next 10 years.

The new wastewater treatment facility will replace an older sewage treatment system built in 1991.

Jennifer Temple, trustee of the Lincolnville Sewer District, told Lincolnville selectmen Nov. 27 the project depends on the local contribution of $190,000. Temple is one of three trustees, along with Paul Lippman and Niel Wienges.

She said the district could lose a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant committed to the project.

Prior to the meeting, selectmen discussed the sewer district's funding request with the town attorney in a closed session.

Town Administrator David Kinney said he would send a list of requests to the trustees that need to be addressed before selectmen can decide to put the request before voters.

In January, the sewer district trustees communicated to the town that $19,000 in local funding was needed for 10 years, to help with an annual payment of a $1.6 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Division.

Selectmen discussed the request for several months, and agreed to ask voters to fund a new Wastewater Capital Reserve Account to raise money for the LSD loan payment, and raise additional funds to seed the reserve account, to be used for wastewater treatment improvements in other areas of the town in the future.

At the time, selectmen expressed support of the new wastewater treatment facility at Lincolnville Beach, and decided the  trustees may request funds annually, to be approved by selectmen.

At the polls in June, voters approved $25,000 to fund the new Wastewater Capital Reserve Account.

At June town meeting, voters approved the Community Development Block Grant application for a $500,000 grant to be used for the expansion of the sewer collection system and replacement of the existing wastewater treatment plant. The CDBG grant required the approval of the town.

Temple said Nov. 28, that Rural Development has clarified that it will not accept an annual contribution of $19,000 for 10 years from the town, but requires a guarantee that the town will contribute the full $190,000. She said this is the same amount of money the trustees originally asked for, and trustees believed the town's commitment was for the entire 10 years. She said Kinney has confirmed the town's wastewater reserve account funding is annual, and not a 10-year commitment.

The proposed Lincolnville Sewer District wastewater treatment project is expected to cost $3.2 million, and serve residences, businesses and organizations along Route 1, from Windsor Chairmakers to Dot's, and along Route 173 from Route 1 to the Schoolhouse Museum.

Beginning in 2009, the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen began to discuss drafting legislation to establish the Lincolnville Sewer District. State legislation created the Lincolnville Sewer District in 2012 at the request of the town of Lincolnville.

The current trustees of the Lincolnville Sewer District have secured federal and state grants and a loan to pay for construction of the facility: 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. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King supported the funding for the project.

The new wastewater treatment plant replaces the existing sewer system built by the Lincolnville Beach Sanitary Facility. The SBSF facility consists of three pump stations situated by the Lobster Pound Restaurant, near the Beach Store, and near McLaughlin's Lobster Shack. The SBSF facility serves a limited number of businesses in Lincolnville Beach, and many residences and businesses use private sewer systems.

The Lincolnville Sewer District's website www.lincolnvillesewer.com shows that out of 66 lots in the district, 16.7 percent have no septic system plans on file with the town, mainly because septic plan approval was not required for buildings prior to 1983. Another 19.7 percent of properties use a holding tank method for sewer treatment.

Lincolnville Beach has been closed 62 times in the past 12 years for unsafe levels of bacteria due to insufficient and aging septic systems in the area, according to Lippman. He said the trustees researched properties at the Town Office and found that for many, built in the late 1700s and 1800s, there are no septic system plans on file. He said the size of properties and non-conforming lots make it difficult for property owners to update private septic systems to modern standards. Twenty-eight of the septic systems were built prior to 2001. According to a Maine Department of Environmental Protection publication, a well-maintained subsurface wastewater system works efficiently for 15 to 25 years.

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