Cumberland council to consider 3.1% sewer rate hike

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council will vote Aug. 26 on a 3.1 percent increase in sewer user fees, which could raise the average monthly fee by $2, from $64 to $66.

The town raised the fee by 3.2 percent last August. The new increase would go into effect next month.

The increase is geared in part toward preparing for added operation and bond expenses from a major overhaul of the Mill Creek pump station on Route 88 in Falmouth, which is used by both towns. The hike would also help offset costs to Falmouth and the Portland Water District, according to Town Manager Bill Shane.

The pump station project, which could begin next summer, could cost between $2 million and $3 million, Shane said Monday. It is not yet known how much of that expense Cumberland would pay. The town uses about 80 percent of the station’s capacity.

“We’re hoping to be able to pay some of the engineering fees with that and avoid bonding too much money,” he said.

Mill Creek handles all the waste water that comes from Cumberland, Shane explained. The upgrade would increase the capacity of the station, “because right now, during wet weather events, we exceed the pumping capacity,” he said.

Cumberland, which has about 1,200 users of its town sewer system, owns 30 percent of a waste-water treatment plant in Falmouth.

The town has “so much allocated for several of the key pump stations that come down toward Falmouth, and Mill Creek is one of the key stations. If our (local) waste-water system overtaxes the Falmouth system, we obviously are responsible for mitigating that situation,” Shane said.

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

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.