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Pingree Secures Nearly $3.5 Million to Improve Water Resiliency in Saco Amid Sea-Level Rise

Funding secured by Pingree in the FY23 Appropriations bill will support the Saco Water Resource Resiliency Project, which aims to make Saco’s water infrastructure more resilient against the impacts of climate change

  • Saco Water Resource Recovery Department

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced nearly $3.5 million in Community Project Funding to improve water infrastructure resiliency in Saco. With final passage of the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill, Pingree secured $3,452,978 for the Saco Water Resource Resiliency Project to make Saco’s existing headworks structure more resilient to the effects of sea-level rise, intensifying weather events, and climate change impacts. 

“Saco’s water resource recovery facility is a living example of the impacts climate change can have on infrastructure–I saw that first hand when I visited the facility with EPA Administrator Regan in February. Sea-level rise, flooding, and weather events are already wreaking havoc on Saco’s water infrastructure, and these impacts  will only escalate over time,” Pingree said. “I applaud the team at the Saco Water Resource Recovery Plant and the community they serve for taking action to address this urgent issue. I am proud to be able to help strengthen the plant’s resilience to extreme weather and climate change through upgrades to reduce the effects of flooding and their harmful impacts.”

“I cannot express enough our sincere gratitude to Representative Pingree for her dedication to climate resiliency and clean water. Because of Representative Pingree’s tireless efforts as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, critical community lifelines, such as the Saco Water Resource Recovery Project, will move forward,” Saco Water Resource Recovery Department Director Howard Carter said.“Water resiliency projects, like Saco’s, will have generational impacts on the lives of our current and future community members that will be felt and appreciated for decades to come. Today’s water investments will lead to tomorrow’s healthy, safe, and prosperous future.”

The wastewater treatment facility in Saco, which serves more than 12,000 residents and 375 businesses, has faced significant flooding due to sea-level rise caused by climate change. 

Saco’s existing headworks structure was built more than 50 years ago at low-lying elevation and has been flooded several times, posing a serious risk of raw sewage overflow into the Saco River. To address this and other indicated concerns, Saco plans to construct the new headworks at an elevation that accounts for additional sea-level rise. This project is a proactive step to protect the local and regional community from environmental, social, and economic damage due to a flooded wastewater treatment plant. 

Last November, Saco residents voted to allow the city to borrow up to $50 million in bonds to fund the Water Resource Recovery Project

Pingree, who is Chair of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hosted EPA Administrator Michael Regan on a tour of Saco’s Water Resource Recovery Department in February to highlight the need for further investments in clean water infrastructure to address the impacts of climate change in Maine. 


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