WATERVILLE — The new $15 million Kennebec Water District complex at 131 Drummond Ave. that has been under construction for more than a year will open to the public on Monday.

The complex consolidates the 145-year-old, quasi-municipal corporation’s administrative offices and operations all at the same location on a 15-acre site. The business office, built in 2004, will move from 6 Cool St. to the new site, as will the operations that are at 5 and 7 South St. Staff planned to move in this Friday.

The water district had outgrown the old facilities and the elected board of trustees determined, after a high-level evaluation was conducted, that a new complex was needed to make operations more efficient, according to General Manager Roger Crouse.

“Everyone is tremendously excited about the opportunity to be in this new site, particularly for our operations staff who have been located on South Street, which has been a challenging site to work from,” Crouse said Tuesday during a tour of the new location.

The water district will maintain its pumping station on Western Avenue and treatment plant in Vassalboro. The Cool Street building is under contract to be sold and the South Street property will be retained, he said.

Kennebec Water District supplies water from China Lake to about 9,000 residential and commercial customers in Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, Benton and parts of Vassalboro, through about 172 miles of pipe. The town of Oakland also buys water wholesale from the district. The water district has 28 employees, five of whom work at the treatment plant in Vassalboro.


In January 2022, the city’s Planning Board approved plans for the new complex, which includes a 20,000-square-foot business and administrative office, designed by SMRT Architects and Engineers of Portland.

The Kennebec Water District on Drummond Avenue in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Kennebec Water District bought the 15-acre Drummond Avenue property for about $165,000 and it was cleared of trees before construction. It includes the business office, garage, a 50-by-50-foot metal cold storage building for equipment and materials, an 80-by-100-foot building for gravel and other materials storage, and space for trucks to move in and out. There’s a water fill station for tanker trucks and garage space for vehicles.

The spaces allow for better care of equipment and vehicles and reduce the risk of having issues with vehicles and materials being stored outside, according to Crouse. Gravel also was stored outside on South Street and it would freeze and be covered with ice and snow, which made access difficult, he said.

Crouse said expenses for the project came about $1 million under budget.

“We ended up with a budget of $16 million but we’re going to be just over $1 million under budget,” Crouse said, adding that a contingency was built into the budget because officials had anticipated more challenges with buying materials than was the case. The contractor, J.F. Scott Construction Co. of Winthrop, was an excellent contractor to work with, he said.

Crouse said the water district sold a municipal revenue bond in 2022 to finance the project. “This bond will be repaid over the next 30 years with revenue from water rates,” he said.


The water district instituted an 8% rate increase July 1, 2022, and another 8% increase this month, he said.

“We anticipate another increase in 2024, but we still haven’t determined what that will be,” he said.

Crouse said officials estimate that a typical, single-family residential property pays about $100 per quarter, or every three months.

Roger Crouse, general manager of the Kennebec Water District, offers a tour Tuesday of the Kennebec Water District conference room, with the break room on the right, on Drummond Avenue in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The new complex has two entrances on Drummond Avenue and the north entrance is for the public and has a gate. The south entrance is for employees, trucks, materials and equipment. The north entrance includes a white drop box for customers to pay bills, if they choose, but they also can call to make payments or do it online or by mail.

Kennebec Water District, also known by the acronym KWD, has been on the South and Cool street locations since 1881. Crouse said the district was built around the Messalonskee Stream, as that’s where the source of the water was, originally. It stopped using the stream in 1905.

“Given KWD’s 140-year history at the South and Cool street sites, the board of trustees should be commended for their courage, vision and wisdom to make such a dramatic change,” Crouse said. “Because of the significant opportunities for operational improvements at this new location, KWD ratepayers will benefit for decades to come. KWD staff are already innovative and resourceful. This incredible facility will enable them to meet the challenges KWD will face well into the future.”

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