Stimulus funds to help Ellsworth sewer work

Posted April 21, 2009, at 8:28 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:10 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The city will use approximately $2 million in federal stimulus funds to install new sewer lines as part of the construction of the new sewage treatment plant.

The stimulus funding comes in the form of a $1.2 million loan and $800,000 in loan forgiveness, according to Brent Bridges, a senior vice president with Woodard and Curran, the firm that is designing the project.

Since the federal stimulus funds target “shovel-ready” projects, construction on the new lines must begin this summer. Bridges said the project is almost ready to be put out to bid with construction slated to start in July.

The new sewer lines are part of the larger $16 million treatment plant. The sewer line project involves installing two sewer lines, called force mains, from the site of the existing treatment plant to the new plant that will be located off Bayside Road. Once the project is completed, the city no longer will use the existing plant. Plans call for the plant to be removed and replaced by a smaller pump station located on the site as close to Water Street as possible, he said, freeing the rest of the property, which connects with city property at Harbor Park.

“We want to maximize the use of that property as much as possible and get it back to use for whatever the city wants,” Bridges said.

That was welcome news to councilors.

“The citizens will be happy to know that there won’t be that much going on at that site,” Councilor John Moore said.

The city will run two lines, Bridges said. One will be 14 inches in diameter; the other will be 8 inches. The larger pipe will be used in times of heavier flows, Bridges said.

The lines will run from the existing treatment plant through Harbor Park up to Water Street and then out to the new plant site. Although work will begin this summer, Bridges said, no work will be done in Harbor Park during the boating season. That portion of the project will be done this fall.

The project also will install a portion of the 24-inch outfall pipe that eventually will run from the plant to the Union River. There are a number restrictions on when work can be done in the river, Bridges said, and that final piece will be done near the end of the project.

Meanwhile, work continues on the access road from Bayside Road to the plant site. That project ran into a delay last fall when construction crews ran into soft clay near a deep gully on the property. The crews had to dig out the soft clay before they could proceed with building the road.

On Monday, City Manager Michelle Beal said the project was moving along and crews were working this week to build the road base up to about 8 feet below grade. Once they get to that point, she said, they would take a break to see whether and how much the materials settled. The road should be completed by the end of the year.

Woodard and Curran is still reviewing two types of treatment technology before engineers complete the design for the plant itself. Bridges said the design for the plant and obtaining the necessary permits should be completed so that construction on the plant could start by the end of this year. Construction will continue through 2010 with completion and startup scheduled for sometime in 2011.

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