Franklin Countys First News

Jay board reviews wastewater treatment options for North Jay

JAY - The Board of Selectpersons reviewed proposals to either upgrade or outright replace the North Jay Wastewater Treatment Facility Monday evening.

The engineering firm Wright-Pierce prepared a draft study of the North Jay plant, contrasting the costs and benefits of upgrading the plant versus removing it and installing a pump station. The latter option, which would involve pumping waste down to the Livermore Falls Treatment Plant, would be more expensive initially, but would save money in the long run due to reduced operations and maintenance costs in Jay.

The 20-year-old plant will require a replacement package treatment unit in the near future. The cost of replacing those components, along with the cost of transporting waste down to the Livermore Falls plant for two to three months while the North Jay plant is offline, is expected to cost $1.6 million, according to calculations presented by Wright-Pierce Senior Project Manager Jeff Preble.

The alternative would be to install a pump station to replace the North Jay plant. Wastewater would be pumped along the Whistle Stop Trail to eventually reach the Jay Plaza, where it would enter the system that is serviced by the Livermore Falls plant. The project, which would include a pump station and laying 19,000 feet of pipe, would work to avoid historic granite structures, environmentally-sensitive areas and coordinate with Maine Department of Transportation paving projects, Preble said. Legislative action would be required to bury the pipe in the shoulder of the Whistle Stop Trail, as that trail was acquired by the state using Land for Maine's Future funds and installing the sewer main would be considered a change of use.

The cost of the pump station option is estimated at $3.9 million.

Using a 20-year bond at 1.5 percent interest would result in annual payments of $226,500, somewhat offset by the $107,000 per year the town would save in operations and maintenance costs associated with the North Jay plant. In the near future, Preble said, the North Jay facility upgrade was more cost effective, but that the pump station became more financially beneficial over time, as it avoided the O&M costs and was significantly cheaper to upgrade. The longest range projection, at 40 years, showed the total worth of the treatment facility option being $13.77 million to the pump station's $9.22 million.

Those figures include the approximately $11,000 annual increase in Jay's costs relating to the Livermore Falls Treatment Facility apportionment, as there would be a projected 2.9 percent increase in Jay's usage of that facility.

"The bottom line is that it seems [the pump station] looks like a feasible alternative," Preble said.

Additionally, Superintendent Mark Holt said, the pump station option was likely to score higher for grants or access to the state's revolving loan program, as it represented both a regionalization of local efforts and the end of the practice of discharging treated water into Seven Mile Stream. Furthermore, it would be possible to include a slightly larger pipe - 8 inches instead of 6 - without a significant increase in costs, which would allow for future expansion of use in North Jay. The treatment plant could not be expanded, Holt said, as it was capped due to the size of Seven Mile Stream.

The board asked Preble to submit a final draft of his report, intending to choose between the two options at a future meeting.

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