Maine’s wastewater infrastructure got a big boost on Earth Day, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcing $29.7 million in funding toward upgrades at seven Maine facilities.

The grants were announced Tuesday morning during an event in Hartland. Hartland received $1.6 million to make improvements at its wastewater facility.

“These essential funds will assist with necessary upgrades to aging equipment at the wastewater treatment facility, helping to preserve the Sebasticook and Kennebec River watersheds for future generations to enjoy,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel in a news release.

Hartland’s Interim Town Manager Christopher Littlefield said the town called the funding “a gift to the citizens of the Town of Hartland, the Sebasticook River watershed region, and most importantly to the environment as a whole.”

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development also announced Tuesday that it will provide about $1 million in additional Community Development Block Grant funding to support the work in Hartland.

Also receiving awards, through a mixture of grants and loans, were:


— Oxford received the largest award, by far — nearly $23.7 million to build a new wastewater treatment facility and collection system. That project will include seven pump stations, more than 48,000 feet of pipes and a membrane bioreactor waste system.

— Stonington Water Co., $1.2 million to rehabilitate wells, upgrade tank and treatment plant systems and replace about 2,500 feet of water mains on Highland Avenue.

— Gardiner, $555,000 to replace a 900-foot sewer main along the Cobbossee Stream.

— Danforth, $620,000 to upgrade the Sandy Stream Pump Station and wastewater treatment facility. Those improvements are aimed at preserving the Baskahegan Stream Watershed, according to USDA.

— Van Buren, $862,000 to replace the town’s wastewater collection and storm drain systems on several streets in hopes of preserving the St. John River watershed.

— Wiscasset, $1.2 million to replace approximately 4,000 linear feet of deteriorating 6-inch and 8-inch cast-iron pipe with larger 12-inch mains on Birch Point Road. These upgrades will help ensure quality drinking water for the towns of Wiscasset, Edgecomb (Davis Island) and Woolwich.

In all, USDA on Tuesday announced nearly $387 million worth of awards to 116 recipients in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, calling it the USDA’s “largest Earth Day investment in rural water and wastewater systems.”

“Having reliable, clean and safe water is essential for any community to thrive and grow,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “I am proud that USDA helps build rural communities from the ground up by supporting water infrastructure projects like these. I’m especially proud that we can help communities that are struggling economically and those that have urgent health and safety concerns.”

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