MARS HILL, Maine — A substantial grant and loan package is going to assist the Mars Hill Utility District in providing access to quality water and wastewater systems.
The utility district recently received more than $2.5 million in grant and loan funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In announcing the funding, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak said Maine received more than $4 million of the $116.9 million in water and environmental project loans funded through the federal stimulus money.
Bob Lento, who manages the Mars Hill Utility District, said earlier this week the district will receive $85,000 in loan funds and $255,000 in grant funds to replace approximately 2,000 feet of 6-inch-diameter vitrified clay pipe wastewater collection lines, as well as brick manholes.
In addition, existing sump pumps connected to the wastewater system will be disconnected and reconnected to the nearby storm drainage system, preventing public health concerns by eliminating broken collection lines and the potential for sewage leaks.
“This funding is going to help us cut our operating and maintenance costs a great deal,” said Lento. “Some of the clay pipes date back to the 1940s and they are cracked and damaged. This will allow us to prevent all of that.”
In addition to the funding for wastewater upgrades, the Mars Hill Utility District will receive $860,000 in loan funds and $1.3 million in grant funds to replace approximately 10,000 feet of 6-inch-diameter cast-iron water main, and install nine new hydrants, updating service to 85 residences.
Mars Hill is not the only town benefiting from the funding. The Lincoln Sanitary District received $400,000 in loan funds and more than $1 million in grant funds to replace pump stations that are more than 30 years old. The funding also will help upgrade the treatment plant’s monitoring and control systems. These upgrades will help make the facility more efficient while protecting the Penobscot River watershed.
Lento said that some engineering work still needs to be done before the repair and upgrade work can begin in Mars Hill.
“I hope that it will begin in the spring,” he said.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes measures to modernize infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care and provide tax relief.