OXFORD — Engineers expect Oxford’s proposed state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility will be up and running by next spring.

At a recent selectmen’s meeting, Woodard and Curran Vice-President Brent Bridges told town officials the bidding on the facility will begin by the end of the month.

The building will be boxy, but designed to fit into the area, Bridges said. “It’s functional, but it won’t have an industrial look.”

For the past two weeks, construction crews have begun installing the miles of sewer pipes that will eventually converge near the Welchville Dam at the intersection of Routes 26 and 121.

Oxford is in the process of constructing a sewer system where wastewater is pumped to the station from a series of collection points. Before outflowing into the Little Androscoggin River, water will pass through a series of membranes that slough off solids and then be sterilized with ultraviolet light.

The rate of flow through from each collection point will be radio-monitored by the main station. In some areas, the signal is faint and will have to be accentuated with a booster, Bridges said. 

The system is seen as an essential attraction to bring businesses into the region, allowing companies and residences to reduce utility costs by transition from private to public sewage. 

Oxford’s sewer project is blocked into two phases, distinct by location and funding.

The first phase is under construction. It calls for sewer lines to be installed along Route 26 near the Mechanic Falls town line and continue up to King Street, passing through the town’s business-advantageous Tax Increment Financing district.

Voters in 2012 authorized selectmen to borrow as much as $20.2 million to complete the first phase of the project. In April, selectmen took out a $13.7 million loan from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank. To date, the town has spent roughly $4.87 million on piping, membrane filters and labor. 

In April, the town received $23.7 million in federal funding from the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office to complete the second phase of the project, which will include the installation of sewer lines on King Street and rural parts of the town.

The town intends to use the funding to pay down the DEP loan, while revenue generated from the TIF zone and user fees will pay down construction costs.

The facility’s foundation is expected to go out to bid at the end of the month with the goal of construction — including outflow pipes into the Little Androscoggin River — being completed during the fall, when river levels are low. 

Bidding on the walls of the building will follow in September, as engineers seek to lock into a better rate on construction labor over the winter. Along with the collection system, that work is expected to be finished in the spring.

Selectmen did not take action last week, but are expected to review an ordinance setting usage rates in the coming weeks.


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