Vote set on $190K for sewer system upgrade at Lincolnville Beach

By Susan Mustapich | Feb 08, 2018
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Improving water quality, supporting businesses and jobs are cited as reasons for building a new wastewater treatment system at Lincolnville Beach.

LINCOLNVILLE — The construction of a new wastewater treatment plant at Lincolnville Beach depends on the outcome of a Feb. 12 town vote to authorize funding of $19,000 per year for 10 years for the Lincolnville Sewer District.

The special town meeting will be held at the Lincolnville Central School Walsh Common at 6 p.m. on the 12th.

The new Lincolnville Sewer District wastewater treatment system will serve 66 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 serves 10 properties at Lincolnville Beach.

District trustees cite water quality improvement, support of sewage treatment needs of existing businesses as well as business expansion, and job growth as benefits provided by the system.

In January, the town's Board of Selectmen unanimously recommended the public vote on committing $190,000 over 10 years in local funding, to improve wastewater treatment at Lincolnville Beach. Before making their recommendation, selectmen reviewed information provided by the trustees of the Lincolnville Sewer District, and authorized the drafting of a legal document that spells out the financial agreement between town and sewer district.

Local, state and federal representatives have supported the development of a new sewer district at Lincolnville Beach for many years. Lincolnville selectmen first discussed creating the new sewer district back in 2009. In 2012, state legislation created the Lincolnville Sewer District at the request of the town. More recently, both of Maine's U.S. Senators, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King, supported the funding for the project.

In January, the current trustees of the Lincolnville Sewer District supplied detailed information to the Board of Selectmen, including: proof of $3.2 million in federal and state grants and loans to pay for construction of the facility, projected sewer rates, and agreements that users of the current sewer system will connect to the new sewer. The trustees stated an urgent need for the local town funding in order to secure the federal and state funding, and to allow the project to break ground in fall 2018.

The $3.2 million in federal and state funds for the facility 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.

Sewer district trustees researched lots within the district, and found on 80 percent of the lots, sewer systems are over 25 years old and "likely in need of a new system." A number of lots were developed prior to 1983 and were not required to file septic system plans with the town, and other properties use holding tanks for sewage. According to a Maine Department of Environmental Protection publication, a well-maintained subsurface wastewater system works efficiently for 15 to 25 years.

In the past 10 years, Maine Healthy Beaches has posted advisories indicating bacterial levels in excess of federal environmental guidelines for recreational water contact at Lincolnville Beach on 56 days.

For more information on the Lincolnville Sewer District, documents requested by the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen, and information provided by district trustees, visit  lincolnvillesewer.com.

A previous version of the story stated in error that Lincolnville Beach was closed 62 times for unsafe levels of bacteria in the past 12 years. The beach has never been closed.

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