ORCHARD BEACH — The Old Orchard Beach Town Council voted to confirm a bid award to Apex Construction Inc. to upgrade the town’s wastewater treatment facility and pump station.

Town Manager Diana Asanza said Feb. 20 that the town received three bids for the project. Apex was selected as the company offered the lowest cost estimate to complete the work.

Four years ago, voters overwhelmingly approved a $23.5 million bond to finance the upgrades, which are necessary to avoid illegal discharges and citations from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, town officials said at the time. The treatment plant was built in the 1960s and the need for upgrades were first identified in 2008, when the town commissioned an engineering study of the system. It has taken until now for the town to select a contractor to implement the upgrades.

But due to rising costs associated with the project, the $23.5 million is not enough to cover the full project, which is estimated to tally at $28.2 million. The town has already used some of the bond money to purchase equipment, upgrade sewer manholes and pipes on Walnut Street, and pay for some engineering work, according to Asanza.

The town is awarding Apex Construction $18.4 million in order to start on the project, and plans to source the remaining roughly $9 million from a mixture of grants and municipal funding, she said. The town is applying for various grants — like through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund — to cover the difference, but also plans to ask voters to approve municipal funding for the project on the June 11 ballot, said Asanza.

The engineering firm Woodard & Curran has led the project, including soliciting the construction bid’s on the town’s behalf. The company has identified which parts of the upgrade Apex will tackle first using the initial $18.4 million, according to Brent Bridges of Woodard & Curran, who gave the Town Council an update on the project on Jan. 17.

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