35-year-old Searsport wastewater treatment facility getting upgrades

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT
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SEARSPORT, Maine (WABI) - Clean water is especially important for Maine’s Midcoast.

One town is receiving an $11.6 million upgrade to its wastewater facilities to keep pollution out of the Gulf - and your tap.

The Gulf of Maine is crystal clear on this sunny spring day. Underneath the surface though, there’s a lot going into place to keep dirty wastewater and pollution out of the deep blue sea.

The Searsport wastewater treatment facility is 35 years old, thanks to $11.6 million in funding, workers won’t have to fix things up with duct tape much longer.

“The project is needed. This building and the facility is old, but it’s held up for a long time, and we’ve got a lot of hard workers here,” said Charles Stephens, USDA Rural Development. assistant administrator.

The new secondary and tertiary treatment levels are extra steps to eliminate pollutants like chlorine from wastewater, something that has a big impact on local marine industry.

“Every wastewater discharge plant in the state could make or break our businesses as individual businesses. So it means literally millions of dollars to us as a group of farmers,” said Sebastian Belle, Maine Aquaculture Association executive director.

It’s the latest in a growing effort to make Searsport greener.

The upgrades at the Searsport facility will help keep pollution out and keep the Gulf of Maine beautiful.

“Everything that we do ends up somehow into the environment. And so, every upgrade that we can make is going to improve the lives of all of us,” said Stephens.

“It just empowers us and enables us to each be able to do what we can. We can’t all do everything, but each one of us can do something and this is another space where that collaboration ends up uplifting everyone,” said Rhiannon Hampson, USDA Rural Development state director.

An impact celebrated this Earth Week but will be felt for years to come.

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