Waterfall in Solon, Maine Photo by Ramona du Houx

December 22, 2021

Funding Will Expand Access to Clean Water and Dependable Wastewater Infrastructure in Rural Maine

On National Maine Day, December 22, United States Senators Susan M. Collins and Angus S. King, Jr., joined USDA Rural Development State Director Rhiannon C. Hampson in making an announcement impacting infrastructure in Maine. This comes on the heels of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement last week that USDA is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America. In Maine, three entities will receive a total of $22,106,900 for upgrades to critical community infrastructure.

“When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice president Harris, USDA is committed to Building a Better America by investing in America’s rural infrastructure, expanding access to broadband, clean drinking water and resilient power infrastructure. The investments we are announcing today will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come.”

This announcement follows the recent passage of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development’s programs are helping people, businesses and communities address critical infrastructure needs to help rural America build back better. 

USDA Rural Development State Director Rhiannon C. Hampson said, “This critical investment in upgrading Maine’s aging infrastructure goes hand in hand with ensuring that our valuable natural resources are protected. Today’s announcement represents one more step that we are taking to ensure that Maine people have access to properly working water and wastewater systems, which improves the quality of life in our rual communities, but also helps to mitigate the affects of climate change for future generations.”


In Maine, a total of 
$22,106,900 is being invested:

  • Rumford-Mexico Sewage District is receiving a loan of $10,770,000 and a grant of $8,805,000: This Rural Development investment will be used to provide financial assistance for comprehensive upgrades to the main wastewater treatment facility and the Dix Avenue Pump Station. The project at the main wastewater treatment facility includes replacing the screen, bar rack, grit removal system, septage receiving offloading area, channel, and bar rack, raw sewage piping system, mechanical aerators, secondary clarifier mechanisms, and covers, submersible pumps, sodium hypochlorite and sodium bisulfite storage and feed systems, sludge blowers, aeration piping, diffuser system, belt filter press, plant water system, heating ventilating air conditioning (HVAC) system, plumbing system, instrumentation and controls, and electrical system. This project will rehabilitate all concrete channels and tanks, and also includes demolishing the two trickling filters. The upgrades to the Dix Ave Pump Station includes demolishing the grit system and replacing the influent sluice gate and hydraulic power pack, comminutor, all field instruments, pumps, piping, valves, HVAC system, electrical system, roof membrane, and facia. The upgrades include relocating the Electrical/Control Room, and control system. These upgrades will maintain and improve the level of service provided to this area and will also increase the dependability of the system.
  • Mexico Water District is receiving a loan in the amount of $2,454,000: This Rural Development investment will be used to improve the facilities that serve the high-pressure zone along the Harlow Hill Road and Backkingdom Road, as well as several other streets in Mexico, Maine. The facilities that serve this area include the Backkingdom standpipe, the Harlow Hill booster pump station, two pressure reducing valves, and distribution piping. The Mexico Water District will be replacing a welded steel water storage tank with a cast in place concrete reservoir, completing improvements to the Harlow Hill booster pump station, upgrading the two pressure reducing valves, and replacing the water main that is a 100-year old unlined cast iron pipe that has outlived its useful life. These upgrades will maintain and improve the level of service provided to this area and will also increase the dependability of the system.
  • Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments is receiving a grant in the amount of $77,900. This Rural Development investment will be used to provide a wide range of technical assistance to towns and/or groups of towns operating together in the three-county region of Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford. The goal is to reduce the amount of toxicity of waste being disposed and continue to improve the sustainability of the local and regional solid waste systems. In accomplishing this goal, Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments will work with communities to improve efficiencies, reduce costs where possible, protect the environment and public health, increase institutional capacity and compliance, and ensure adequate facilities for now and the future.

Background

Last week, Vilsack highlighted 359 investments that USDA is making in seven programs designed to help people in rural areas access high-speed internet, clean water and dependable electric power. These programs include Community Connect GrantsElectric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan GuaranteesWater and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant ProgramWater and Waste Disposal Loan GuaranteesWater and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Predevelopment Planning Grants.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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