SKOWHEGAN β€”The town’s road commissioner and superintendent of the pollution control plant say the end of a multimillion-dollar sewer separation project that has torn up North Avenue since last summer is near, and its completion is on pace to be nearly a year late.

Road Commissioner Greg Dore and plant Superintendent Brent Dickey said the project should be done by mid-September. It was supposed to have been done last November, but contractors ran into sandy soil, problems with the depth of the sewer pipes and an unpredictable water table, all of which have put the project behind schedule.

“The current project is the fifth phase of an $11.88 million (combined sewer overflow) reduction project,” Dickey said. “This phase started in 2013 with the Island Avenue pump station. It then went to Elm Street, Bennett Avenue, Summer Street. We did Main Street, that was phase 3.”

Dore said the disruption to businesses along North Avenue during construction has been considerable, but signs were erected saying that local stores were open and local traffic was allowed.

When the project is complete, the stormwater will go directly into the river, the sewage will be directed to the town’s waste treatment plant and every home along the North Avenue route will be hooked directly into the town sewer system. Pipes that currently empty into the storm drain will be moved to the sewer line.

Dickey noted that the construction company, Lou Silver, of Veazie, got a late start last spring and was unable to finish before cold weather set in in December. Dore added that the company had equipment problems last year, which further slowed the project.

The current phase of the project comes with a cost of $2.4 million, which comes out of the original $11.88 million bond. The object of the project is to separate the sewer system from the stormwater system to decrease the number of sewer overflows into the Kennebec River during heavy rainstorms.

“What happens is, the catch basins are hooked into the sewer and when we get a good rain, the system can’t handle it, so we have what’s called outfalls that dump into the river β€” in essence, dumping sewerage into the river,” Dore said Wednesday.

The primary outfall locations are on either side of the walking bridge, downtown, and behind the Municipal Building.

The entire Skowhegan CSO project began in 1990.

“They haven’t run into any problems since they started back up the first week of May. Everything’s been going good,” Dore said. “I haven’t heard of anything that’s holding them up. We’re looking at mid-September. We’re not going to overlay it until next spring anyway.”

Doug Harlow β€” 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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