If it were to be approved, a new Gorham sewer line would result in ratepayers footing the bill for the town’s share of $2.9 million.

The proposed sewer line would serve Little Falls and South Windham and along Mosher Road to Westbrook.

No money from Gorham’s property taxes would be used to build the sewer. “There will be a charge to users of the entire (sewer) system,” Gorham Town Manager David Cole said this week.

The Portland Water District unveiled plans last week for a $6.4 million combined project for the sewer line and an upgrade of water mains in Little Falls and South Windham. The sewer line, which would connect to a treatment plant in Westbrook, has been designed to replace the aging sewerage treatment plant that serves both communities and another treatment plant at the state prison in Windham.

Cole said the proposed sewer line running along Mosher Road would result in the closure the small treatment plant in Little Falls that is inefficient and “costly” to run.

He said the Department of Environmental Protection has wanted the treatment plant in Little Falls closed for a number of years. During some major storms, the flow has exceeded the plant’s capacity and effluent has been discharged into the Presumpscot River.

Jay Hewitt of the Portland Water District said the district has been authorized to seek bids and expected to put the project out to bid this month. Hewitt believed bids would be received from contractors by the end of September.

The next step would be final approval for the project from town councils in Gorham and Windham besides trustees of the water district, he said. “Hopefully, that will take place this year,” Hewitt said.

Windham’s share of the sewer line construction would be $2.1 million with the state prison paying about $380,000 for their share of the project.

As part of that project, water ratepayers of the Portland Water District would be responsible for $1.6 million to cover water main work. Cole said some water mains in Little Falls were installed in the 1870s.

Cole said that Gorham faced a sewer rate increase “with or without” the sewer line extension. He said the last increase was in 1995. “Its quite a long run without having a change to the sewer rates,” Cole said.

Hewitt said the project, if approved, would get underway in the spring and could be completed in 2007.


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