The Brunswick and Topsham Water District announced plans to replace its Topsham facility in 2021. (Chris Quattrucci / The Times Record)

TOPSHAM — The Brunswick and Topsham Water District will build a new water treatment plant in Topsham next to the Jackson Station plant at 266 River Road.

The new plant will replace the one Jackson Station, which is also home to the district’s administrative offices. The current facility was built in 1971, and the district says it needs a new system to maintain water quality standards.

“Our system meets all of the (Environmental Protection Agency) water quality standards,” said General Manager Alan Frasier. “But, our existing system is not cut out to do this in the long-term.”

Frasier said the potential cost for the project was unclear. The new facility will need to be designed before the district determines how much it will cost. The 2017 water quality report stated the expected cost could range from $20 million to $25 million. Frasier said customers can follow the Brunswick and Topsham Water District Facebook page for updates in the process.

“We don’t even know what it’s going to look like yet,” said Frasier. “This is our headquarters, so it will need to serve the needs of the water plant and all of our operational needs.”

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The Jackson Station plant is one of four the department uses to draw groundwater from wells, with the other three located in Brunswick. The district’s Brunswick locations are Jordan Avenue, Taylor and Williams stations. The Topsham plant provides the largest supply of water at 60 percent.

The new treatment plant will produce 3.5 million gallons of water per day — the same amount as the current plant — because of the well resources available. In 2017, the water district delivered an average of 2.26 million gallons of water per day to customers.

In 2012, An engineering study found several building systems were failing and space was inadequate.

A 2017 water quality testing report stated levels of disinfection byproducts (chemical, organic and inorganic matter produced during the process of disinfecting water) were increasing in recent years. This can happen when chlorine used for disinfection combines with natural matter such as decaying leaves.

The water is regularly checked for levels of the disinfection byproducts to meet state and EPA standards. Frasier said the district dialed back its chlorine levels.

“It would be like if you have a cold and you take an aspirin,” said Frasier. “You may feel better for a while, but the cold doesn’t go away.”

With treatment and maintaining water quality in mind, the district has designed a system for its new plant. Engineers and academic experts helped design the system to treat the water last year.

The new facility is expected to be operational in 2021. The Brunswick and Topsham Water District serves 7,200 customers within the two towns.

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