June 22, 2018
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Hermon to consider ditching public water, sewer system expansions

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

HERMON, Maine — Town councilors will consider next week whether the town should move ahead on a $5.7 million proposal to extend public water and sewer service into the village center or ditch the project.

That’s because a survey of property owners within the project area shows that a majority of those who responded would not hook up to either water or sewer service if they were made available, Town Manager Roger Raymond said Friday.

Because that would make it difficult to obtain grant funding from USDA Rural Development and the Community Development Block Grant program, Raymond said, he will recommend that the town drop the project during at council meeting set for 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Public Safety Building meeting room.

According to a document prepared for council members, town staff mailed surveys and letters to 87 property owners in the project area — Route 2 from Billings Road to Coldbrook Road, and along Coldbrook from Route 2 to Autocar Lane. Three of the respondents were business owners, six owned apartment building or rental homes and the remaining 33 were homeowners.

Of the 47 property owners who responded, 24 said they supported the project while 17 indicated they did not. However, when it came to connecting to the services, only 13 were willing to connect to water and only 14 planned to connect to sewer, the survey results show.

The proposal to expand sewer service was driven, in part, by the fact that the septic systems at Hermon High School and Hermon Middle School are aging and eventually will need to be replaced or upgraded at the town’s expense.

The water service expansion would solve the problem of hard water that has required homeowners and businesses to install expensive softening systems.

The owner of the local Dunkin Donuts franchise said during a public meeting in August that he has had to install $20,000 water treatment systems twice since he set up shop along Route 2 a few years ago. Other businesses in Danforth’s Plaza affected by the quality of water in the area include a dental practice and a pizzeria and sandwich maker, according to town officials.

If the council decides to scuttle the project, Raymond said he will see if there is some other way to provide water to the plaza’s businesses.

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