The Vassalboro Sanitary District will receive $3.8 million in assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade its system and make a connection from the town of Winslow to a regional wastewater treatment facility.

The agency announced the funding Wednesday, saying the Vassalboro district would receive a $2.1 million water and waste disposal direct loan and a $1.7 million grant.

USDA officials said in a news release that the rural development funding “will be used to make an interconnection with the Town of Winslow for treatment at the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District’s regional wastewater treatment facility,” as well as “other needed upgrades will be made to the existing wastewater treatment facilities.”

The local project funding was among $331 million announced nationwide for 85 projects aimed at improving water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 39 states, the release said.

Another Maine project also received funding. The Boothbay Harbor Sewer District will receive $600,000 for upgrades to the district’s sewer distribution system.

Under the local project, the Vassalboro Sanitary District would connect the town’s sewer system with Winslow’s and send its waste to the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District. A sanitary district committee decided it’s the most cost-efficient way to fix the aging sewer system and voted to approve the project in March 2015.

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 project’s total cost is a little more than $5 million and should take about eight months. In addition to the USDA funding, the project also will be paid for by a Community Development Block Grant and tax increment financing money.

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.

Under the new system, waste would travel 3 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.


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