Jay, Livermore Falls boards consider wastewater plant upgrades

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Select boards from Jay and Livermore Falls took no action Tuesday night on options for upgrading the Livermore Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Estimated costs associated with the four options ranged from $6.5 million to patch up the structures to $10.9 million for a two-phase upgrade spread over 10 to 20 years.

Funds from Rural Development and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund are available to reduce the project’s total cost. 

Jeffrey Preble, an engineer with Wright-Pierce of Topsham, said the first option, at an estimated $6.5 million, would be to put a “Band-Aid” on existing structures. It would be a sooner fix but would not address some major issues.

 “It would mean more costly repairs later,” Preble said.

Option two would replace some structures at the plant, change the existing primary clarifiers to circular ones and install a new roof system. It also would make changes to the sludge-holding tanks, which would decrease their capacity.

This option would cost an estimated $6.9 million.

The third option, broken into two phases, would focus on the primary end of the plant in phase one. Access to the plant would be improved. A building would be erected over new sludge-holding tanks and a new garage would be added.

The second phase could be completed in 10 to 20 years. It would include a new pump house, chlorine tank and additional office space. This approach would cost $5.7 million now and $5.2 million for phase two. There could be grant or bond money to offset some of the phase two costs.

The fourth approach would be to convert the existing facility to an activated-sludge system. Annual operating costs would increase by $50,000. This approach would cost almost $9.3 million.

Greg Given, Livermore Falls sewer superintendent, and Mark Holt, Jay sewer superintendent, recommended approach three.

Holt said it would be similar to when the secondary part of the plant was upgraded in the 1990s.

“That lasted almost 50 years,” he said. “Approach three addresses all of the issues and comes with a reasonable price tag.”

Preble said Livermore Falls is eligible for up to $702,800 in principal forgiveness on the project through the State Revolving Loan Fund. There is potential for a $1.43 million grant from Rural Development, with the remaining amount provided through that agency’s loan program. There could be additional funds available, pending the outcome of a November DEP bond vote.

Using current figures, Jay would have to pay $2.3 million over the life of the loan, and Livermore Falls would pay $1.2 million.

Holt said the annual debt service would be $150,000. Jay’s portion would be $97,500, and Livermore Falls’ would be $52,500.

Jay Selectperson Gary McGrane asked for a breakout of funding for the other approaches.

“Approach three replaced what needs to be replaced,” Given said. “The other stuff will go another 10 to 20 years. If the towns want to build a new plant, that’s fine with us.”

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