NEW GLOUCESTER – A draft feasibility study report was approved unanimously by selectmen Monday toward developing a future public water system to serve 88 residences and a number of nonresidential users in Upper Gloucester.

The board also approved spending $45,000 from Pineland Tax Increment Financing funds to complete additional engineering studies and conduct income surveys of households within the area where public water would be provided.

New Gloucester relies on private wells and private septic systems, townwide except at Pineland and the nearby Dunn Elementary School by a public water system on town land on the Morse Road.

For several years comprehensive studies for safe drinking water have been provided under a contract funded jointly by the town and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Town Planner Paul First said a deep aquifer system under the Bald Hill Road Fairgrounds has a high quality water supply that can produce 60 gallons per minute, more than the 25 gallons per minute required for average demand for water at Upper Gloucester.

In the mid-1980s underground gasoline storage tank failures in Upper Gloucester led to the detection of benzene and/or MTBE in 22 Upper Village private wells and clubs.

Eight water supplies are currently receiving town filtering for salt and chloride contamination.

In addition to contamination related to oil products and salt, Memorial School’s water supply contains levels of uranium exceeding the federal Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standard. The problem is currently being addressed using filters.

The town and Maine Department of Environmental Protection have worked in partnership to defray the public water feasibility studies to find a high yield clean water supply.

Project cost for a New Gloucester source supply is $2,487,000. If the town connects to the Auburn Water district, costs are $3,279,000.

The proposed water system would include approximately 14,000 feet of water distribution main serving the following areas:

Route 100/202 from Route 231 to Gilmore Road

Upper Village Road

Peacock Hill Road and Gilmore Road

Bald Hill Road to the Royal River and the northern end of the Snow Hill Road

Bald Hill Road to Wayfarer Village

In addition to the distribution mains, the water system would also include a transmission main connecting to the water source, a pump station at the source and a storage tank.

Selectmen hope to finish the studies, then schedule a public informational meeting followed by a special town meeting seeking voter approval to proceed.

In other business, the board is studying four proposals to reconstruct the Morse Road.

Bidders include St. Laurent and Son, Inc. of Lewiston; Shaw Brothers of Gorham; R. J. Grondin of Gorham; and Pratt and Son of Mechanic Falls.

Staff will review the bids and report back to the board by the end of the week.