RICHMOND — Trustees for the Richmond Utility District have identified the engineering company that will help guide it through a planned upgrade to the town’s wastewater treatment system.

Last week, they picked Olver Associates of Winterport to guide the process.

Olver Associates was one of six firms to respond to the district’s request for qualifications, due last month, and one of three firms to be interviewed.

Chuck Applebee, interim superintendent for the district since last fall, said components in the system are reaching the end of their useful life and require replacement, but just how much work that will be and how much it will cost has yet to be determined. That, he said, will be the work of the consulting engineers and the district.

As outlined in the request for qualifications, the first phase will be determining the scope of the project and availability of funding, including developing a preliminary engineering report and an environmental report. In the second phase, the project will be designed, sent out to bid and built. Under the contract, the engineering firm is expected to provide contract administration and inspection services.

The last time the wastewater plant, which was designed to last 20 years, underwent a substantial upgrade was about 30 years ago, Applebee said.

With the project still in the early stages, work is now underway to gather demographic data to help define the project, starting with a confidential income survey that rate payers have been sent and are being asked to complete.

A public meeting on the income survey is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Water Street wastewater treatment plant to explain what the survey is about and why it’s important to the project.

“The survey is completely confidential,” Applebee said. The district has hired RCAP Solutions to process the survey; no one in Richmond will have access to the raw data, he said.

The data collected will be considered when putting together a funding package to pay for the upgrade project. That’s likely to include rate increases, he said.

Information on the meeting went out to system users in a newsletter earlier this month.

Applebee said he hopes to get a high voluntary return rate on the surveys to capture the most accurate information. The district will follow up with phone calls and visits if they are needed.

Applebee has outlined a tentative timeline for the project, but he cautioned it’s subject to change.

He expects the demographic survey to be completed by the end of June, and the scope of the project to be completed by September 1. If financing is secured, the project could be sent out to bid in early spring 2017 and construction would begin in the summer of 2017.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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