Sewer agreement almost a done deal

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MEXICO — A contract that describes the responsibilities for the sewer line between Dixfield and the sewage treatment plant in Mexico was almost signed by all parties involved this week, but a closer look at the six-page document revealed several errors.

So, the ongoing goal to get the town of Dixfield and the Mexico Sewer District to agree on maintenance of the line has been postponed until March 22 and March 23.

Dixfield Selectman Norine Clarke, one of the town’s negotiating committee members, said a meeting with sewer district trustees, Anne Young and Crystal MacKinnon on Friday morning, revealed no major differences and only minor typographical changes.

The Dixfield Board of Selectmen signed the agreement Monday, March 8, then passed it on to the trustees who met on Wednesday afternoon.

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The two entities have been striving for an agreement for nearly a year. The planned Maine Department of Transportation project that aims to replace the Webb River Bridge was postponed in part because the trustees and selectmen could not reach an agreement last year.

The replacement bridge project and the sewer pipe maintenance responsibility are connected because Dixfield’s sewer main is attached to the underside of the bridge.

According to the new agreement, Dixfield will be responsible for the cost of all repairs to the sewer line, from the Dixfield boundary to the gravity main in Mexico, which is a little over 2 miles. From the gravity main to the sewage treatment plant, a distance of about 1 mile, the sewer district and the town of Dixfield will split repair costs.

Previously, Dixfield’s share of sewer line maintenance costs was based on an assigned capacity.

Other parts of the maintenance agreement call for the sewer district to pay for damages caused by Mexico at a time of changing or adding installations in Mexico, or if Mexico should add to its infrastructure.

Dixfield Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said the new agreement would cost his town more only if a line must be repaired.

He said a conversation with representatives from the MDOT revealed that work on the bridge replacement might begin earlier than expected. Bids were originally scheduled to go out in late autumn. Now, he said, those bids might go out as soon as six months earlier, which means construction could start in autumn.

Dixfield selectmen are expected to sign the amended agreement at their March 22 meeting. The Mexico Sewer District trustees are slated to sign it on March 23.

The new agreement will be for seven years.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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