NEW GLOUCESTER — An update on the engineering and design plan for the public water system for Upper Gloucester drew roughly two dozen residents Tuesday.

The plan is to provide water to 50 households and business establishments, of which 21 have private wells that contain benzene and salt contamination or are at risk.

The system is expected to be finished by July 2014.

Residents were told to expect their first water bills by October 2014.

The project includes constructing the pump station on Bald Hill Road by the New Gloucester Fairgrounds and hooking up connections to properties.

A 300-foot wellhead protection zone will surround the site. A 20- by 56-foot concrete tank will provide more water storage so high-flow pumps can be set up for fire protection, said Darrin Lary of Wright-Pierce of Topsham. The firm has been contracted to engineer and design the project.

Two contracts are in the works. The first calls for the construction of a 24- by  28-foot wood-frame structure with an asphalt roof and concrete tank for water storage. Three pumps will be installed. An aeration unit will be installed to eliminate radon and small doses of chlorine are required for this high-quality ground water source, Lary said.

The second contract deals with the distribution piping and service to each property. An eight-inch water main will be installed at the pump site, going from the Bald Hill Road water source to the Lewiston Road, then toward Mario’s Restaurant and a section of the Peacock Hill Road and Upper Village Street.

Fire hydrants will be set up in various locations.

Lary said all the contract documents must be approved by the funding agencies for the system, including the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Cumberland County Community Development Block Grant program.

Once those documents are approved, the engineering stamp will be affixed to the plan and contracts will go out to bid.

The project is expected to be advertised in the next few weeks, with bids opened in late May and a contract awarded by mid-June. Construction would begin in mid-July.

It is expected that the bulk of the pump station will be completed this year and water mains will be laid along the water distribution route.

The service connections are expected to be completed next spring. In July 2014 approvals by the Public Utility Commission and the Drinking Water Program should be granted.

The water system will cost $2,377,827 with $1,365,827 from the CDBG, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Taxpayers will pay the remaining $1,012,000.

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