Despite the chilly air and light frost, the atmosphere at the Groundbreaking Ceremony I attended last month for the Winterport Water District was warm as partners greeted one another and remarked on the terrific project they were about to break ground upon.
Winterport Water District has received a total of $1.89 million for essential upgrades to its infrastructure, including the replacement of over 6,000 feet of sewer line. The funds will ensure that partially treated sewage no longer flows into the Maine’s Penobscot River.
Minimizing the environmental impact on Maine's pristine rivers and streams is a priority that we all share and it is important to note that funds invested in this project ensure that the Penobscot River will be safe from partially treated sewage or other contaminants, preserving it for the communities who share it for recreation, fishing, and so much more.
Winterport Water District's ratepayers have the 4th highest sewer rates in the state, with users paying nearly 2 percent of their income for user fees. The increase in user rates for this project will be greatly reduced because of the use of grant funds. USDA Rural Development is providing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars in the amount of $710,000. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is providing $1,185,000 through its State Revolving Loan Fund.
Longtime resident of Winterport, 88-year-old Teddy Weston was on hand to celebrate the project, which is near and dear to her heart. He husband Donald had served on the Board at Winterport Water District for 37 years. Although he passed away last year, she told me that he would have been proud to see what is happening here. The couple had been Winterport residents for over half a century, and Teddy still lives in their home located just adjacent to where the ceremony was taking place.
- Breaking Ground (Left to Right): Maine Department of Environmental Protection Engineering Manager Steve McLaughlin; USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia A. Manuel; Office of Senator Susan M. Collins State Office Representative, Carol Woodcock; Winterport Water District Chairman of the Board of Trustees Steve Long; Congressman Michael H. Michaud; Office of Senator Olympia J. Snowe State Director Gail Kelly; Olver and Associates Engineer Annaleis Hafford.
- USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia A. Manuel
- By USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia A. Manuel