Bath seeks $8.5M from USDA for wastewater system upgrade

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BATH — The City Council on Wednesday approved an application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for $8.5 million in loans or grants to complete a wastewater system upgrade.

The council also hired a contractor for a construction project at the city landfill.

Voters in November 2015 approved a $9.8 million wastewater infrastructure improvement bond, which funds infrastructure upgrades and improvements at Bath’s wastewater treatment plant and some pump stations, as well as infrastructure under some roads.

About $1 million has so far been spent on pump stations, “but we’re going forward with the larger portion of that bond,” Public Works Director Peter Owen told the council.

That funding includes an estimated $5.2 million for improvements and upgrades to a wastewater pollution control facility that include aeration, de-watering and structural work upgrades, according to a March 28 memo from Finance Director Juli Millett to the council.

Another $3.3 million will go toward combined sewer overflow abatement improvements and upgrades.

The city is pursuing a Rural Development loan “because they offer a grant program,” Owen said. “So it’s possible that we may get up to $1 million in grants that will help us leverage the bond money further.”

Landfill project

The City Council later Wednesday evening approved a construction contract with the Sargent Corporation of Stillwater, which will build a new disposal area at the landfill as the third and final phase of work there, and install intermediate and final cover-over pieces for Phase 2.

Sargent presented the lowest bid of $3.1 million. The project, due to run from May to September, should give the landfill another 11-12 years of life.

A $3.8 million bond approved by Bath voters last November is funding the work.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Bath City Council Chairman Mari Eosco, at the panel’s Wednesday meeting, reads from a plaque she is presenting to staff and volunteers of the Chocolate Church Arts Center to commemorate its 40th anniversary. To Eosco’s right is Jennifer DeChant, executive director of the Chocolate Church Arts Center and a Bath Democrat in the state House of Representatives.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.