Biddeford landlord Chuck Pothier points to flaking lead paint on a portion of a window in his building at 17 Willet St. He is among several Biddeford landlords who have been able to abate sources of lead paint in multi-family dwellings through a 2019 federal grant and the city’s lead abatement program. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced that the City of Biddeford has received $3.5 million to help address lead hazards in homes to make them safer for low-income families with children. Collins championed the finding as the ranking member of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, according to a news release.

“More than half of Maine’s housing stock was built prior to 1978, the year that lead-based paint was banned, which has resulted in our state having one of the highest levels of lead paint contamination in the country,” said Collins in the statement, “For decades, childhood lead poisoning has negatively affected the lives of many in the Biddeford community. This funding will be transformational for Biddeford families and improve developmental outcomes for children by limiting exposure to lead.”

The funding will be used to address lead hazards in 95 privately-owned homes for low and very low-income families with children, Collins said.

Lead poisoning can cause an increase in learning disabilities, lower rates of IQ, speech development deficiencies, attention deficit disorders, and aggressive behaviors, Collins pointed out.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Grant Program and Healthy Homes Supplemental Funding. Biddeford  will be implementing the grant in partnership with several local medical and social service providers, Collins office noted.

The award is not the first the city has received. In 2019. Collins announced a $2.9 million grant through the HUD program, along with $298,060 in Healthy Homes supplemental funding to assess conditions in about 130 housing units.


“I want to thank Senator Collins, on behalf of the people of Biddeford, for being such a strong advocate for this funding,” said Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant in the news release. “Senator Collins, repeatedly, over the many years, has been a supporter and friend of our residents. Biddeford has many older buildings, and there has always been a challenge, for many, in affording to remove lead paint from their apartments and homes. This grant allows the city to continue its progress in assisting families in the removal of such a dangerous substance.”

Biddeford has the fourth highest number of lead poisoning incidents in Maine, after Lewiston, Portland, and Auburn, said Karyn Butts, who manages the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit of the Maine Centers for Disease Control in a January interview. She said abatement programs like the one in Biddeford are helpful.

“It fulfills a big need to create safer housing,” said Butts during the January interview. She noted lead paint can make a young child sick, but often, symptoms are not apparent until the child is older.

Collins said she will continue to push for funding for lead hazard abatement, increase safety of housing for Maine families and alleviate the public health threat lead paint imposes.

For information about Biddeford’s lead hazard abatement program, go to:

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.