AUBURN — Helping to pay for a new water treatment facility for the Twin Cities was worth any political heat she had to take, said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

“It gives me great pleasure to see federal money translated into concrete projects like this,” Collins told a crowd of municipal and state officials on the banks of Lake Auburn on Tuesday morning. “This is exactly the kind of project Sen. (Olympia) Snowe and I envisioned when we cast our vote.”

The project, a $7.7 million disinfectant facility using ultraviolet light instead of chemicals, is being built with federal American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act money approved by the U.S. Congress earlier this year. The project is receiving a grant covering 30 percent of the costs and
interest-free loans for the rest.

The project is meant to meet federal drinking water quality standards, requiring all municipal water supplies
to
have two disinfectant methods. Lewiston-Auburn water is currently treated with chlorine and ammonia.

The new facility will blast lake water with ultraviolet light, killing protozoans and other parasites.

Collins was among the dignitaries on hand Tuesday to break ground on the new facility.
Construction should wrap in 2010, and the facility should start treating Twin Cities’ water in 2011.

“It’s exactly the kind of infrastructure project I envisioned,” she said. “It puts people back to work right now; it creates jobs and it delivers lasting benefits to the community.”

Auburn  Mayor John Jenkins thanked Collins and the rest of Maine’s congressional delegation.

“We can say that any heat you had to take was worth it, because you do understand who you are fighting for,” Jenkins said. “The folks here understand and appreciate just what you’ve done for us. Hopefully, we can interfere on your behalf and take some of that heat off of you.”

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