OAKLAND — Repairs to the town’s new but nonfunctioning $6 million sewer system will start as soon as the contractor schedules the work.

Town Manager Peter Nielsen said Wednesday that the principal parties, including the town, contractor Pratt & Sons and engineering firm Woodard & Curran, have signed a settlement agreeing to repair terms.

Nielsen said Pratt & Sons officials said after they break ground, they could complete the project in about two weeks.

“We now can move to the process of getting the work done,” Nielsen said.

Woodard & Curran has delivered repair plans to the Department of Environmental Protection and Pratt & Sons, Nielsen said. He said barring any tweaks, the contractor will “be flinging the dirt ASAP.”

The system was slated to be operational in January, but air blockages prevented water flow through 1,700 feet of two six-inch pipes.

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

Brent Bridges, senior vice president of Woodard & Curran, said the firm is pleased the situation will be resolved soon.

“I certainly feel Peter’s pain,” Bridges said. “This is a very important project and we’re really glad to help with the redesign.”

Bridges said 12-inch pipe will provide more capacity.

“Sometimes good things come out of opportunities like this,” he said.

The town won’t incur any additional expense for repair work on the sewer system, Nielsen said. But he estimated the town’s legal costs to resolve the matter will cost about $15,000.

Nielsen sought legal counsel in March to bring together the town, engineer and contractor to remedy the problem.

Construction of the sewer system began in 2009. When functional, it will redirect treated wastewater in an impounded portion of Messalonskee Stream into Waterville’s collection system.

During the delay, Oakland has continued using its 1970s-era treatment system even though the town’s license with the state to operate it expired months ago.

Pratt & Sons had not returned a phone call by deadline Wednesday.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]


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