The structure around the stormwater chamber at Casino Beach in Cape Elizabeth, pictured here after storm Lee in September, is damaged, causing it to leak during large storms, according to Sebago Technics. Contributed / Town of Cape Elizabeth

The recommended overhaul of the stormwater system at Casino Beach in Cape Elizabeth, which overflows regularly after heavy rain, is estimated to cost nearly $450,000.

A study of the malfunctioning system, recently presented to the Town Council, determined the biggest problem is that a 30-inch inlet pipe filters into a chamber on the beach and then into a 16-inch outlet pipe, which carries the stormwater to the ocean.

“I don’t have to be a physicist to let you know that 30 inches going into 16 inches presents a bit of a problem. We’ve had larger storms in past years and that has basically led us to the point that this is close to failure,” Town Manager Matt Sturgis said.

“It ends up creating a choke point,” Town Engineer Steve Harding of Sebago Technics said during his presentation. Severe storms fill the chamber with water and it overflows because the 16-inch outlet isn’t sufficient. The recurring overflows have damaged the manhole cover and the concrete structure around the chamber, he said.

“The outfall pipe is full of sand and water comes out of the side of the structure. The sides of the structure are now exposed and leaking,” Harding told the council. The leakage takes a toll on the beach.

About 54 acres of land are included in the outfall system’s watershed, the area that channels stormwater into the system. The watershed includes parts of Cottage Lane and Wood, Surf, Shore, Deep Brook and Littlejohn roads, as well as Plaisted Park.


After considering several potential solutions, Sebago Technics recommends creating a new chamber and structure either along the edge of the beach or off the beach completely. It also suggests installing a 36-inch outfall pipe that would be above water at low tide. That solution makes it easier to conduct maintenance, improves the system’s capacity and allows sand to be flushed out when needed, Harding said.

The estimated cost of the project is $447,525 with 30% of that earmarked as contingency funding.

The Town Council commissioned the Sebago Technics study of Casino Beach in 2020, but it was delayed because of the pandemic. Any major storm results in big overflow problems, according to the town.

Councilor Penny Jordan asked if the town is looking for grant funding to cover part of the project costs.

“We’d like to get it done in this year’s budgetary season because of where it’s at,” Sturgis said. “So, if we can do that, we’ll try to leverage any and all outside funding opportunities we have.”

Harding said the project likely would directly affect only one abutting property owner. The town has been corresponding with nearby residents and the beach association about the project, Sturgis said.

“We’re definitely happy to take input from (more) folks,” Sturgis said, but the matter is urgent and needs to be resolved soon.

Construction could begin next fall if plans, including final designs and securing necessary permits, go as scheduled, Harding said.

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