Traffic on Pleasant Street in Waterville on Friday, where later this year Kennebec Water District plans to replace the water main. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — A $3.7 million project to replace old water mains on Pleasant Street and nearby streets is scheduled to start April 1 and continue for several months.

Water mains on Pleasant Place, Pleasant Court and Center Street will be replaced as part of the Kennebec Water District project expected to be completed Aug. 2, according to Roger Crouse, KWD’s general manager.

Crouse said Friday there will not be a user fee rate increase specific to the project, but the KWD board of trustees is expected to vote April 4 on an overall annual rate increase to start in July that is driven by KWD costs, investments, equipment and infrastructure.

“Although a decision has not been made on the final rate increase, I anticipate it to be approximately 8%,” he said.

The water mains on and around Pleasant Street are being replaced because they are old and undersized for the demand KWD officials are seeing in the busy, developing downtown area, according to Max Kenney, a KWD engineer who is managing the Pleasant Street project.

Kenney told city councilors Tuesday that some of the 2- and 6-inch cast iron mains to be replaced are 100 or more years old, and those on Pleasant and Center streets were installed in 1903. The replacement is expected to improve water quality to allow more water to pass from KWD’s Western Avenue pump station to the Main Street corridor, according to Kenney.


“We’ve experienced many emergency main repairs on Pleasant Street and Center Street over the past decade,” he said. “Most recently we had an emergency main repair last February during a snowstorm, so we’re eager to get these replaced.”

The contractor for the project is Nitram Excavation & General Contractor Inc. of Benton, which was chosen through a competitive bid process. The Maine Drinking Water Program, in coordination with a state revolving loan fund, is the funding partner, according to Kenney.

The project will be done in three phases, with the first phase starting April 1 to include replacing the main on Pleasant Street, from North Street to Main Street. The second phase, estimated to start April 24, will be the largest phase and will include work on Pleasant Street, from North Street to Park Street and including Pleasant Court, Pleasant Place and Center Street. The third phase, estimated to start June 17, will include Pleasant Street, from Park Street to Western Avenue. That phase includes the area in front of the Albert S. Hall School, so the work will be done in the summer when school is out.

Kenney urged motorists and pedestrians to watch for signs, flaggers and barricades during the work and recommended people visit KWD’s Facebook page for updates and details. People with questions may email the district at

Some nighttime work will be required but there will be no work on weekends or holidays. Temporary water mains, to include above-ground piping, will be installed along the streets where mains are being replaced. That water will be safe for drinking, showering and cooking, Kenney said. Ramps will be built at the end of driveways and motorists will be able to drive over them so as not to drive on the pipes. Water outages of short duration — typically for less than an hour — may occur when the temporary water system is connected and disconnected, he said. Impacted residents will be notified beforehand.

City, KWD and Nitram officials have developed a traffic control plan to help lessen traffic impacts, according to Kenney.


KWD is the municipal drinking water utility for Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, Benton and Vassalboro. KWD also sells water wholesale to Maine Water Co., which provides water for Oakland.

Crouse, the general manager, said the contract with Nitram is for $2.97 million and the remaining project cost covers engineering design, inspection and project contingency.

Funding is through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and 35% of the total project cost will be in grants, Crouse said. The balance of the project will be financed over 20 years with a 1% interest rate. The new debt service will equal about $135,000 per year, which is about 2% of KWD’s revenue, according to Crouse.

“Therefore, if we had a rate increase specifically for this project, we would need to raise rates about 2% to cover the new debt service. However, because other costs have also increased, our future rate increase will be higher than 2%.”

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