VASSALBORO — The Sanitary District Committee is moving ahead in its plans to connect the town’s sewer system with Winslow’s and send its waste to the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District.

The sewer system is more than 30 years old and has “outlived its life,” according to Lee Trahan, a committee member. The proposed connection would bring Vassalboro into compliance with Department of Environmental Protection rules on phosphorous.

The committee decided this was the most cost-efficient way to fix the aging sewer system and voted to approve the project in March 2015.

They are now in the process of gathering as many sources of funding as they can, Trahan said. The total cost of the project is a little more than $5 million and should take about eight months. Overall, the costs to customers should decrease because Vassalboro won’t be running its own treatment plant anymore.

The town has been approved for a $2.9 million Community Development Block Grant, of which about $1.4 million is considered principal forgiveness and the rest is a loan. While the sanitary district acts as a quasi-municipal entity and is separate from the town, the town had to apply for the CDBG.

The town is also letting the district use $145,000 more of tax increment financing money. It had previously received $60,000 in TIF money, Committee Chairman Ray Breton said.

The State Revolving Loan Fund is releasing $1 million to the project in the spring of 2017.

The committee is also applying for a Northern Borders Regional Commission grant for a maximum $250,000, as well as the $2.5 million in grants and loans from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Breton said the committee estimates that the loans will take about 30 to 40 years to pay off.

The sewer system treats waste in Vassalboro and discharges wastewater at three sites into Outlet Stream: one in North Vassalboro, one on Main Street and one in East Vassalboro. The new system would be better for the environment, Trahan said, because it would cut off discharge. It would also be good for customers, who complain about the water and the smell, he said.

“It’s going to be a benefit to all the communities involved,” Trahan said.

Under the new system, waste would travel three miles through piping to Winslow and then get treated at the Kennebec Sanitary District, which Trahan said has “more than enough” capacity to handle Vassalboro’s approximately 200 customers.

Madeline St. Amour – 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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