ELLSWORTH, Maine — The city has taken another step toward a new sewage treatment plant.

City councilors this week authorized purchase of an easement from Arthur Steven Bryant and Julia Hakewill to accommodate the outflow line from the proposed plant.

The city agreed to pay $20,000 for the easement.

According to City Manager Michelle Beal, the easement will be 90 feet wide during the construction phase and 30 feet wide after the plant has been completed and the outflow line has been installed. The line will run about 2,000 feet from the plant to the Union River.

The agreement allows for an extension of the 90-foot easement beyond a five-year limit if the plant has not been constructed by that time. Beal said Thursday that, although the final design has not yet been completed, the plant would be completed before the five-year limit is reached.

The city is waiting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to approve those plans, Beal said. Those two agencies are providing the bulk of the funding for the estimated $13.2 million project.

“We’ve been working with the engineers, doing some planning and technical work, background work, while we’re waiting for approval,” she said.

Meanwhile, a separate but related project has been delayed briefly. Beal explained that the city has been constructing the access road to the treatment plant, but crews have run into a problem with the soils near a deep gully on the property.

“They got as far as the gully and when they tested the soils there, they weren’t strong enough to hold the retaining wall that had been planned,” Beal said. “We’re stalled for a little while.”

Beal said the crews will have to dig out the soft clay soil and replace it. She said she was still waiting to hear whether it will involve additional costs.

Despite the delay, Beal said, the road is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.