Portland Water District to get $4.5M in stimulus

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PORTLAND — The Portland Water District expects to receive $4.5 million in federal stimulus money to replace aging infrastructure, without increasing water rates.

PWD Public Relation Manager Michelle Clements said the district expects to fund 14 projects, mostly water main replacements. Citing the standards of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Clements said the projects are expected to save or create 150 jobs.

Of the $4.5 million, $1.35 million will be awarded as a grant. The remaining $3.15 million will be offered as a no-interest loan, as long as the projects meet certain provisions, including buying U.S.-made supplies, offering competitive wages and meeting certain time constraints.

Chris Crovo, PWD director of asset management and planning, said the district will not have a problem meeting the Aug. 1 deadline to begin the projects.

“That shouldn’t be a problem,” Crovo said. “Many of these projects have been designed, but failed to receive favorable bids in the past.”

The district’s 2009 capital improvement plan originally budgeted $1.8 million. Clements said it’s difficult to say when the projects would have been advanced without the federal money. 

Water mains along Read, Ray and Clifton streets, along with those along Vannah and Brighton avenues, are among the additional water projects to be moved forward.

The water district serves 11 greater Portland communities, including South Portland, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and Cumberland.   

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.