UPDATE: Advancing Our Community: A Sustainable Wastewater Solution and Transportation Improvements
50 years in the making, North Windham Wastewater Project breaks ground and receives $25 million grant for transportation multi-modal improvements
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 I Commissioner MeDOT Bill Van Note | Jarrod Maxfield & Mark Morrison, Town of Windham | Christopher Howell, RSU 14 School Superintendent |Seth Garrison, Portland Water District General Manager I Senator Angus King
The Town of Windham is pleased to announce two major initiatives: State-of-the-art wastewater system and a transportation overall for local and regional multi-modal mobility. Both these efforts have been 50 years in the making. Windham is on the Move.
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.” The [transportation] funding will improve our community’s infrastructure, help our economy, and enhance the quality of life for residents across our state,” said Senator Collins. “Throughout the Appropriations process, I strongly advocated for these projects, which will deliver substantial benefits to Cumberland County.”
“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.”
“This funding will help create a business-friendly, village-like atmosphere in North Windham; this will then allow MaineDOT to continue working with the Town of Windham to prioritize the needs of regional travelers on Route 302,” said Bruce Van Note, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. “Route 302 was never designed to serve as both a local street dotted with businesses and a through-route for travelers heading to Sebago Lake and other western destinations. Traffic has increased in recent years while transportation efficiency and safety have suffered. This grant money will improve safety and efficiency on the roads while providing walkable back streets and a new multi-use pathway for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other active transportation users. We are grateful to Senator Collins for her continued support of the work we do.”
“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 the Wastewater project include:
• 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.
Funding to Support The Wastewater 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
The Town in collaboration with the Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) partnered to address local access, regional mobility, safety improvements (like raised medians), smart signals, pathways, sidewalks, ADA improvements, and lighting to help transform the Rt. 302 corridor and your community.
The $25 million dollar grant is a Federal grant for traffic safety improvements based on an 80-10-10 funding combination (80% Federal, 10% State, 10% Town). The Town of Windham approved the funding in hopeful anticipation of this grant at the annual Town Meeting in 2022.
The combination of the Wastewater and Transportation network improvements will allow further economic development in the Town’s growth zone, additional new employment opportunities, ease of access with new local connector roads, improved fire safety response times, public access management, and corridor & intersection improvements (Route 302, 35 and 115) for all transportation modes all while providing an environmentally safe water disposal.
With these new mobility roads; East Connector Road, West Connector Road and Middle Connector Road, multi path pedestrian and bike paths, the Century 21st N.W. Downtown plan will be poised for development.
The primary goal of the transportation improvements is to improve both the local and regional mobility in the North Windham and the Downtown District. The secondary purpose is to bring all elements of the transportation system into alignment with local land use, economic development, and quality of place goals. Transportation improvements that make it easier and safer to move within and through North Windham will help meet these goals
Benefits of the Transportation project include:
- Increased mobility for local residents
- Ease of mobility for visiting tourists and those neighbors traveling to the lakes region
- New opportunities to complete the Century 21st Downtown
- 35% traffic flow improvement in major intersections
- Synchronized traffic lights for advance monitoring of traffic flows
- Reduce response times for Fire/EMS
- Multi use path networks – creating walkable/biking healthy options
Special thanks to these partners that have made this project possible: Partnerships
town of Windham | Portland Water District | Regional School Unit #14 | Maine Department of Transportation I Local Athletic Organizations |Local Businesses | Residents | Elected State & Federal Officials | Maine Department of Environmental Protection |Project contractors: Brown and Caldwell, MWH, Stantec, Shaw Brothers.
North Windham’s 302 Corridor is the gateway and service center for the Lakes Region. North Windham’s downtown area has the convergence of Rte 302, Rte 35 and Rte 115 all moving traffic to 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 and providing a transportation network for local and regional mobility