Rockland company to remove Harpswell pump house for $75K

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HARPSWELL — The task of removing a collapsed pump house from the pier at Mitchell Field will go to the Prock Marine Co. of Rockland.

The Board of Selectmen chose the company’s bid, at a cost of $75,000, at a May 25 meeting. Prock’s was one of four bids submitted to the town.

It was the lowest bid submitted, and was recommended by town staff. Project work on the collapsed pump house is set to begin in August, according to Prock’s proposal.

The structure collapsed from the aging former U.S. Navy pier in the spring of 2015. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection told the town in July that it must remove the rubble from the water.

The town has already spent about $8,000 to remove some of the debris.

In its bid, Prock said it could complete the work in 10 days, using a barge and a tugboat. Demolished material would be shipped back to its marine terminal in Rockland, with the steel to be sold to a recycling company.

The company has rebuilt six piers in Maine, according to its bid. According to Barney Baker, a design consultant who reviewed the proposal for the town, Prock also constructed the Bowdoin College pier on Orr’s Island.

Voters approved spending up to $150,000 for the work at Town Meeting in March. The leftover funds will go into the Mitchell Field reserve account, Deputy Town Administrator Terri Sawyer said Wednesday.

The pump house is the second structure on the Mitchell Field pier to fall apart in recent years; a free-standing docking “dolphin” collapsed in 2012.

The pier is in such bad shape that the Mitchell Field Committee recommends that it be fully demolished. Harpswell voters adopted that recommendation, along with a $30,000 appropriation for site planning, at Town Meeting.

The committee is also working on plans for a two-lane, all-tide boat launch to replace the current pier. Sawyer said Wednesday that Town Planner Mark Eyerman and the Mitchell Field Committee are applying for grants to aid in the design process.

One idea that has been floated is turning the rubble from the pier into an artificial reef. Such a project has never been done in Maine, but would avoid significant costs to remove the debris.

The next Mitchell Field Committee meeting is Monday, June 6, at the Harpswell Town Offices.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

The pumphouse on the pier at Mitchell Field in Harpswell collapsed in the spring of 2015. The state Department of Environmental protection subsequently ordered the town to have it removed.

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Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.