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Bath Receives Nearly $9 Million USDA Investment for Sewer System Upgrades

Washington, DC, February 22, 2018

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that the City of Bath would receive a total $8.8 million federal investment—consisting of a $2.3 million grant and a $6.5 million low-interest loan—to upgrade its sewer system. The funding comes from the USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants Program, which has been slated for deep cuts in President Trump’s proposed budget.  

“I’m so glad the City of Bath will receive this vital investment to upgrade its downtown sewer system. These improvements will make the system more effective, efficient and dependable for the business and residential customers who rely on it,” said Pingree.  “I’m troubled to see funding for the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Grants zeroed out in President Trump’s proposed budget. But as this and other Maine projects show, pairing grants with loans is often the only way many communities can afford these vital projects. As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, I’ll be working with my colleagues to ensure continued funding for all parts of this important program.” 

In President Trump’s proposed budget for USDA Rural Development, direct loans under the program have been proposed for level funding while grants have been eliminated (a cut of over $500 million). Loan guarantees for these kinds of projects have also been cut. Full details on the cuts available here on page 31-8. 

Project description provided by USDA Rural Development below. Full details on terms here. 

Rural Development funds will be used by the City of Bath, whose Sewer Department was established in 1971 and is responsible for operating and maintaining the sewer distribution system for the City. The proposed project will focus on the wastewater system as it is in need of immediate upgrades. 

The City is committed to providing dependable services for its users, while at the same time ensuring the local environment is adequately protected from untreated wastewater. The Sewer Department serves 3,218 users and is requesting $8.8MM in Rural Development assistance for infrastructure improvements in its greater downtown area. The proposed project is to rehabilitate the City's wastewater treatment facility, upgrade some aging sewer collection infrastructure, and to correct some Combined Sewer Overflow abatement issues. 

The treatment plant was originally constructed in 1971 and was upgraded and expanded over the course of two projects in 1993 and 1997. Some of the plant's original equipment and processes are upwards of fifty years old, and the overall facility is well beyond the twenty-year useful life for which it was originally designed. The plant is now at an age where it has a greater chance of equipment failure and it has incurred increased maintenance needs. Several key unit processes at the plant are inefficient, inadequate, or obsolete. 

The rehabilitation improvements address the aging infrastructure and capacity issues in the project area, as well as restore the design capacity of the facility at a reasonable cost. The proposed upgrades, which are long overdue, will help the system operate more effectively and efficiently, as well as address the Maine Department Environmental Protection's health and sanitary concerns. The upgrades included in this project represent the highest priorities identified in the City's Strategic Plan and Combined Sewer Overflow Master Plan, and will have the greatest benefit to the distribution system. Rural Development and the City of Bath will be making an investment in the project. 

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