BRUNSWICK

The former Brunswick Naval Air Station is in a sticky situation when it comes to its aging sewer system. Old pipes and manholes are letting water in, and driving up the authority’s sewer bill.

“It’s a pretty serious issue for us, financially,” Tom Brubaker, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority’s utilities manager, reported to the authority’s board on Wednesday.

The total cost estimate is about $392,000, down from the original $453,000 estimate.

In November, the authority announced it would float a $2 million revenue bond in 2015 for upgrades to the sewer system, in addition to water and electrical systems upgrades.

Rainwater is flowing into the sewer system, rather than into storm drains, while ground water is infiltrating into old pipes.

That additional water is driving up MRRA’s sewer bill.

MRRA pays the Brunswick Sewer District based on its waste water discharge using a flow meter, rather than based on water consumption like other businesses, said Brubaker.

The former base discharges between 2.4 million to 8 million gallons a month, and sewer bills range between $14,000 and $48,000.

Brubaker said that inflow and infiltration is costing MRRA between $9,800 and $42,000 every month.

According to Brubaker, MRRA is discharging two to three times as much water as it consumes.

The authority has already spent $142,000 on sewer repairs, including more than $85,000 to mitigate inflow and infiltration, said Brubaker. More work will need to be done this summer, including fixing and replacing pipes and manholes.

According to MRRA’s fiscal year 2015 budget, the authority is budgeting more than $192,000 for its sanitary and sewer utility.

MRRA maintains nine miles of sewer pipes, and this won’t be the first time MRRA has invested in its sewer lines. MRRA’s board of directors authorized $75,000 for sewer line repairs in 2013.

The age and condition of the sewer system varies throughout the former base. The sewer issue is one of several challenges faced by MRRA in converting a 60-year-old military installation for modern use.

“It’s kind of a crappy subject that we deal with,” said MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque, “but if you don’t, there’s a real cost element.”

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Lots of water

THE MIDCOAST REGIONAL Redevelopment Authority pays the Brunswick Sewer District based on its waste water discharge using a flow meter, rather than based on water consumption like other businesses.

The former base discharges between 2.4 million to 8 million gallons a month, and sewer bills range between $14,000 and $48,000.



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