New pump station for Falmouth, Cumberland expected to cost almost $6M

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FALMOUTH — Replacement of the town’s largest wastewater pump station is likely to cost almost $6 million.

The station was constructed around 1969, and is no longer deemed sufficient to meet the town’s needs.

Pete Clark, the town’s wastewater superintendent, on Tuesday said most pump stations are designed to last 25-30 years. Mill Creek was built with some extra capacity, he said, which is probably what allowed it to exceed expectations.

“This is something that needs to be done and we’re being proactive,” Clark said.

Clark said on a normal and dry day, the station pumps a little over half a million gallons. During wet weather, he said it pumps roughly 2 1/2 million gallons a day. The upgrades will allow for up to 4 million gallons a day.

“It’s pretty much worn out,” he said.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said a significant portion of Falmouth and all of Cumberland is served by the station, which handles most of the Route 1 area and Falmouth Foreside.

“It’s time has come, it’s useful life has expired,” Poore said.

Wright-Pierce engineers of Topsham has estimated construction costs for the pump station would be $3.5 million. Replacing the force main, which moves wastewater under pressure with pumps or compressors, would cost an additional $1.4 million. Engineering and construction services will cost $850,000. And other fees, such as legal and financing, would cost $125,000, bringing the total for the project to nearly $5.88 million.

The town received six contractor bids for replacing the pump station. Apex Construction had the low bid of just under $2.8 million.

The town expects to go for bids on the force main sometime in March, after getting approval from the Town Council. Clark said in all likelihood, two separate contractors will do the work.

Clark said they do not want to use general obligation bonds to finance the project. Rather, he said the town’s finance department is looking into funding this through a revenue bond, with a contribution from Cumberland, and $1 million from a wastewater enterprise fund.

Clark said he hopes the plan goes before the Town Council at the Jan. 25 meeting. It was originally slated to be on the Council’s Jan. 11 agenda, but was tabled. In the meantime, the town is looking to secure easements for replacing the force main.

Construction, which could begin in the spring, will require excavating and filling very close to wetlands, but this was determined to be unavoidable, according to a study done by the Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP found “no significant adverse affects and that the quality of human environment will be improved by the proposed project.”

Clark said it will likely take 16 to 17 months to replace the pump station, but less time to replace the force main.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

The Mill Creek pump station off Route 88, Falmouth’s largest wastewater pump station, is in need of replacement.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or