LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — The town, on behalf of the Lincolnville Sewer District serving the Lincolnville Beach area, is applying for a Community Development Block Grant public infrastructure grant for up to $500,000 to help build a nearly three-quarter-mile new sewer collection and treatment system serving the Route 1 corridor segment from Shag Rock Point Road to Lively Lane.

The estimated cost of a new and expanded system is $3,069,800. The present sewer system is privately owned and only serves two restaurants and the commercial establishments and apartments across from the beach, according to a news release from the town.

The existing sewer plant building is 25 years old and nearing the end of its useful life, as is the treatment equipment inside the plant. The plant has reached its maximum capacity, and there is no room for planned additional users.

Under the proposal, the present plant will be demolished and replaced with a new surface control building and an underground packaged treatment facility designed to treat the added flows from new customers. Linked to the new sewer plant will be sewer laterals in the corridor road right-of-way to collect sewage from disconnected overboard discharge units discharging to the ocean, malfunctioning septic system and cesspools for transporting to the new facility, where the wastewater will be centrally treated and the effluent discharged to the harbor in the existing outfall pipe.

In order to keep project costs under control, the existing pump stations, force main and outfall pipe will be reused. In addition to pursuing community development funding, the district has received a $250,000 grant from the federal Northern Border Regional Commission and is applying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program for a combined loan and grant. Grant and low interest financing is tied to the setting of user rates, which means that more grants and low-interest loans will lead to lower rates for users.

The new wastewater treatment facility would provide environmental benefits to the community and allow for expanded economic activity in the Lincolnville Beach area and along the shore. Currently the Maine Department of Marine Resources has closed the Lincolnville shores to shellfish harvesting due to high bacterial levels and the lack of a sewer system. With the project, flats and beach areas have the potential to be reopened for shellfish harvesting.

Businesses in the beach area have expressed their desire to expand their operations and floor area in order to have more customers but are limited by private septic systems on small lots, often very close to well-supplied drinking water, the town’s release stated. With a new collection and wastewater treatment system in place businesses will no longer be held back by private septic systems and will be permitted to expand resulting in increased employment, state sales tax receipts and local property taxes plus additional revenues for the district in which to lower the rates for the other users, the town stated.

With all the financing in place the engineering design can be completed this summer with construction commencing in the fall and project completion and start up by October 2017.