State grant to fund Cape Elizabeth storm-water management study

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The town will use a $16,500 grant to conduct a storm-water study recommended in the Town Center Plan.

The town was awarded the grant Aug. 12 by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Wildlife, and Forestry through the Municipal Planning Assistance Program.

The 1995 plan to create a storm-water management study was recently updated with the intention of improving the plan and integrating so-called low-impact development  techniques.

As stated in the plan, the storm-water system would collect water from roadways and town lots in underground piping. It would flow through an underground collection system and into the Spurwink Marsh. 

“What we’d like to do is update our plan and modernize our plan,” Town Planner Maureen O’Meara said. “Once the plan is complete, the infrastructure can be implemented.”

DACF said in a press release that Cape Elizabeth was chosen in part because the Spurwink Marsh is rated as a high-value wildlife habitat. It said the grant would help the town maintain the habitat’s quality.

“The implementation of LID techniques in stormwater management in the Town Center should help improve the quality of stormwater entering the marsh and more generally improve coastal water quality,” the announcement said.

The Town Council has already accepted the grant and O’Meara said the terms requires the town to complete an agreement with the state by the end of this month. The study must be started by December. 

Part of the grant process is that the applicant must agree to a minimum of 25 percent in matching funds. O’Meara said the town is doing a match of $5,500, which will provide a total of $22,000 to conduct the study.

The Town Center Plan says the study should be conducted by a professional engineer and town staff. The plan said the estimated cost to hire the engineer, along with the cost of paying town staff, would be $20,000.

Six other coastal towns also received the grant this year, with a total of nearly $158,900 awarded. This is the fifth year the Coastal Community Grant Program has been in place. DACF is able to administer the awards through Maine’s federal coastal management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. 

The program awards grants to projects that support coastal habitat restoration, coastal hazards resilience, and storm-water management.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.