FRENCHVILLE, Maine - A $1 million environmental bond referendum that was approved in June has opened the door for two St. John Valley towns to receive an extra $50,000 in grant money.
The money from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’ s Small Community Grant Program will go to Frenchville and St. Agatha to address malfunctioning septic systems in their communities.
During elections in June, Maine voters approved a $29,725,000 bond for natural resource, agricultural and transportation infrastructure that will leverage $29,780,000 in other funds.
“When voters approved that bond in June, a portion of that money was earmarked for the SCG program,” Paul Bernier, regional community development director for the two towns, said Tuesday, “Almost $610,000 was given out, and we are very happy that St. Agatha and Frenchville did so well.”
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection’ s Small Community Grant Program provides funds to Maine communities to help repair or replace septic systems which now discharge into or eventually reach a body of water.
Frenchville received $30,000 for five approved sites and St. Agatha is earmarked for $20,000 for two approved sites, Bernier said.
He added that while he was optimistic the grant money received by St. Agatha would be sufficient to complete all of the projects, construction costs would be a determining factor in how many projects could be completed in Frenchville.
Town officials will use the DEP’ s priority list to determine which projects will be addressed first, said Bernier.
Since 2004, St. Agatha and Frenchville have been awarded $116,857 through the SCG program, Bernier added. As a result, 18 failing or malfunctioning systems have been repaired or replaced.
“We have certainly made a positive impact on the water quality of Long Lake and the St. John River over recent years, and that is the exact intent of this program,” he said Tuesday.