Nearly $3 million USDA grants to improve drinking water and wastewater systems for eight rural communities

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

June 17th, 2013 

Eight water and wastewater projects across Maine will receive grants all together totaling $2.97 million from the USDA Rural Development program. Communities in rural Maine will see drinking water and wastewater systems improved, which could also spur economic development.

“I am pleased that USDA Rural Development can invest nearly $3 million. These projects ensure people living in Maine’s rural areas have access to clean, safe, drinking water and reliable wastewater infrastructure while helping to preserve the environment and the integrity of Maine’s pristine lakes and streams,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.

The following organizations will receive grant funding:

Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants:

  • Norridgewock Water District has been selected to receive $1,468,500 in the form of a loan of $1,118,000 and a grant of $350,500 to upgrade the Norridgewock Water District’s distribution system by replacing aged water mains thus improving operating efficiencies, flow, and reliability of the system.
  • Town of Wiscasset has been selected to receive $1,200,000 in the form of a loan of $974,000 and a grant of $226,000 to replace and reline 6,500 feet of sewer mains and to upgrade three pump stations, which will improve flow rates and efficiency.

Technical Assistance Training Grants:

  • Passamaquoddy Tribal Council at Pleasant Point Reservation has been selected to receive a grant of $65,104 to be used to identify and evaluate solutions to water issues relating to source, storage, treatment, and the distribution of safe drinking water.
  • Hancock County Planning Commission has been selected to receive a grant of $12,900 for workshops and training that will be used to help reduce threats to drinking water. It will also assist municipal officials in identifying failing waste disposal systems, ranking these systems for priority replacement, and directing those officials to appropriate funding for income-eligible households for new systems.

Solid Waste Management Grants:

  • Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments has been selected to receive a grant of $100,000 to provide a wide range of technical assistance to towns/associations using existing staff. The assistance with the goal of reducing the amount of toxicity of waste being disposed and improving the sustainability of the local and regional solid waste systems.
  • Hancock County Planning Commission has been selected to receive a grant of $29,500. Funds will be used to help Hancock County increase their recycling rates. It will also help towns find new methods of organic matter composting, facilitate the collection of household hazardous waste and universal waste, and improve construction and demolition debris. The Commission’s goal is to produce strategies to divert solid waste from disposal through increased recycling, composting, and other solid waste management techniques.
  • Kennebec Valley Council of Governments has been selected to receive a grant of $68,000 to help reduce solid waste sent to landfills and incinerators, increase municipal recycling, and improve water quality by the removal of toxic materials from the waste stream. This will be accomplished by providing municipal employee training, public education, and environmentally responsible disposal opportunities for small towns in Maine.
  • Northern Maine Development Commission, Inc., which was created by Congressman Mike Michaud, has been selected to receive a grant of $29,500 to help reduce the influx of garbage and recyclables that will come from the 2014 World Acadian Congress convention (a major celebration of Acadian Culture, French language and history that spans three weeks) that will be held next summer. It will help reduce the amount of garbage that will be generated by this event by providing extensive outreach effort on part of the transfer station operators and event organizers to promote recycling during the festivities.

The USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor.