OAKLAND — The Town Council took action Wednesday to repair Oakland’s new but nonfunctioning $6 million sewer system.

Councilors Mike Perkins, Dana Wrigley, Byron Wrigley and Don Borman voted in favor of eight terms of a settlement agreement after a 30-minute executive session at the Town Office.

Town Manager Peter Nielsen said the town, contractor Pratt & Sons, engineering firm Woodard & Curran and the Waterville Sewerage District had all expressed interest in moving forward, but that no formal legal contracts have been signed.

Nielsen said the council’s vote represented the first step in the process.

The settlement depends on whether the sewage district votes Wednesday to refund $12,000 to Oakland, Nielsen said.

“We’re almost done with the paperwork and soon we’ll be ready to turn over some earth,” he said. “My only regret is the time it took to reach this point. I’m very grateful all parties stuck to it and helped arrive at this solution.”

The town’s new sewer system was supposed to be operational around the first of the year but air blockages prevented water flow through 1,700 feet of two six-inch pipes.

Two terms of the settlement are that Woodard & Curran would add 160 hours of repair engineering services to its existing agreement with Oakland and that Pratt & Sons would replace the problematic 1,700 feet of the two six-inch pipes with 1,700 feet of one 12-inch pipe.

Pratt & Sons has said as soon as the legal paperwork is signed that it could start work almost at once, Nielsen said.

The repairs would likely take about two weeks to complete, he said.

Oakland taxpayers will not incur any additional expense to have the sewer system repaired, Nielsen said. He estimated the town’s legal costs to resolve the matter, though, will total about $15,000.

Once completed, the sewer will redirect treated wastewater dumped into an impounded portion of Messalonskee Stream into Waterville’s collection system.

Because of air blockages, the town has continued using the treatment system that was built in the 1970s, even though its license with the state to operate it expired months ago.

Representatives of Pratt & Sons and Woodard & Curran could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

 


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