Advancing Our Community: A Sustainable Wastewater Solution
50 years in the making, North Windham Wastewater Project breaks ground
PUBLIC AND MEDIA WELCOME
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Time: 10:00 a.m. (rain or shine)
Location: Manchester School
709 Roosevelt Trail, Windham Maine
Speakers: Senator Susan Collins | Senator Angus King |Jarrod Maxfield & Mark Morrison, Town of Windham | Christopher Howell, RSU 14 School Superintendent |Seth Garrison, Portland Water District General Manager
A state-of-the-art Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR) wastewater treatment facility with innovative drip dispersal is being built in Windham. This is the first project with drip dispersal of this scale in the state of Maine. It will support economic growth, improve the quality of local groundwater and waterways, and allow for new athletic facilities at RSU#14. It will also permit for the future retirement of the aging treatment facility serving the schools.
The Town of Windham partnered with the Portland Water District to solve the multi-level wastewater problem with a solution that will greatly benefit the environment and spur economic growth. The MBR system was selected for its reliability, flexibility, and cost effectiveness. The facility is being designed to clean and filter community wastewater that is currently being discharged untreated into septic systems. The cleaned, high-quality water, which is extremely low in nitrogen and phosphorus, will be released into an advanced drip dispersal system laid 2 feet underneath the new athletic fields. The sandy soils native to the area are ideal for this system.
“Windham is the gateway to Maine’s beautiful lakes region and is a major retail center for the surrounding communities,” said Senator Collins. “This advanced wastewater treatment facility will support continued job and residential growth in Windham while also protecting the environmental health of Sebago Lake, Little Sebago, and other local bodies of water.”
“Windham is among Maine’s most vibrant communities; it’s a wonderful place to start a business, raise a family, or visit for vacation,” said Senator King. “This new wastewater facility will help the Town modernize its infrastructure to attract new businesses and provide families with a high-quality of life– all while carefully preserving local ecosystems. I was proud to support Congressionally-Directed Funding for this project and look forward to watching Windham’s growth for years to come.”
“Maintaining the high quality of Maine’s water is essential to the “Maine brand,” our quality of life, a healthy environment, and a strong economy,” said Melanie Loyzim, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “The Department is pleased to assist with funding for this clean water project through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to ensure Maine will continue to be known for having some of the best water quality in the country.”
The facility comes at a time when economic growth in Windham has been stalled due to the lack of a community wastewater disposal system. Studies have also found an increase in pollution in the groundwater, threatening the quality of well water and the environment.
Benefits of this project:
Decommission over 100 septic systems, directly improving the quality of the water discharged into the groundwater from the treatment facility by 99%
Eliminate 22,000 lbs./year of nitrogen and 3,000 lbs./year of phosphorus from entering the North Windham groundwater
Allow existing businesses to expand their footprint, new businesses to develop, and the school campus to upgrade and expand
Improve the quality of water in North Windham groundwater and waterways
Support the development of multipurpose recreational fields at the Manchester Elementary School
Benefits of MBR system treatment:
Smaller carbon footprint than standard treatment facilities
Most advanced micro-filtration system in the state for handling contaminants including PFAS
Built-in redundancy to ensure reliability of service
Provides an odorless solution
Allows for further growth and expansion
“This new North Windham sewer system is 40 years overdue and will solve long standing environmental and economic challenges for Windham. The advanced MBR system will provide for a cleaner environment and be a model for other Maine communities to follow. This system will support business growth, new job opportunities and affordable housing options. And this new growth combined with our state and federal funding partners will guarantee no tax rate increase for our residents even with an expense of 38.6 million dollars. This is remarkable feat for all involved and something Windham and the region can be proud of,” Councilor Jarrod Maxfield stated.
“We are pleased to partner with the Town of Windham to address longstanding development and environmental protection challenges. The new MBR treatment facility will have profound positive impacts on the community,” stated Portland Water District General Manager Seth Garrison.
Special thanks to these partners that have made this project possible:
Town of Windham | Portland Water District | Regional School Unit #14 | Local Athletic Organizations |Local Businesses | Residents | Elected State & Federal Officials | Maine Department of Environmental Protection |Project contractors: Brown and Caldwell, MWH, Stantec, Shaw Brothers.
Funding to Support The Project and Minimize Tax Burden
Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) Tentative Award $38.9 Million
(SRF Loan $35.7 Million)
SRF Debt Forgiveness (Grant) $ 3.25 Million
American Rescue Plan Funds (Federal Funds Allocated to the Town) $ 1.7 Million
Congressional Direct Spending sponsored by Senators Collins and King $ 2.0 Million
Cumberland County Government $ 1.5 Million
North Windham’s 302 Corridor is the gateway and service center for the Lakes Region. It is a bustling commercial district along the east shore of Sebago Lake, catering to tourists and surrounding small communities. Sebago Lake provides clean, safe drinking water to 11 communities in Greater Portland, 1/6 of Maine’s population. Buffered by forests, the lake is one of just 50 sources in the nation with water so pure that it does not require filtration.
Since 1971, several studies have been conducted identifying a need for improved wastewater disposal in North Windham; however, the community declined previous solutions. This project provides the right combination of technology, funding, public interest, and partners. The community approved the $40.6 million project in 2022.
Protecting Public Health and the Environment While Promoting Sustainable Economic Growth
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