WINTER HARBOR — The Winter Harbor Utilities District has received $1.3 million in funding to improve the town’s wastewater treatment facility and pump stations.
The funds are being allocated as a $390,000 grant and a $910,000 loan. The money is being provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development.
“The current equipment is more than 30 years old,” said Peter Drinkwater, chairman of the Winter Harbor Utilities District. “It’s obsolete, inefficient, difficult to get replacement parts because they no longer exist.”
Improvements will be made to replace outdated equipment at the wastewater treatment facility, and install high-efficiency motors and generators at all four of the district’s pumping stations.
In a joint statement, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King stated that “maintaining and upgrading water infrastructure is vital to ensuring the economic and environmental health of the community. We welcome this important investment for Winter Harbor to improve its wastewater treatment system, which will help stabilize rates for homeowners and businesses, preserve water quality, and protect public health.”
The biggest improvement to the system is expected to be overall efficiency.
“Before, everything had to be done pretty much by hand,” Drinkwater explained. “Now, the system can practically be run from a phone. The system can automatically shut down if there’s a flooding risk, and also automatically removes things like flushable wipes where right now we have to open the pumps and remove them manually.”
Work on the pump stations began in May and is expected to be complete by October. Improvements to the wastewater treatment facility are expected to begin in September and take a year to complete.