Senator Susan Collins, center, breaks ground in Saco with members of the community. Contributed / Office of Susan Collins

The City of Saco held a groundbreaking ceremony on July 1 to celebrate upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment facility. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was among those present.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am to be here today,” Mayor Jodi MacPhail said July 1. “When I was first elected to council, one of my immediate goals was to work with our Water Resource Recovery Center.”

Due to its location, the facility, which provides sewer services to more than 12,000 residents and 375 businesses, has experienced adverse effects from flooding, sea level rise, and weather events, increasing the need for an updated facility.

Over the course of three years, Saco studied the effects of the tidally influenced Saco River on the wastewater plant, which sits only a few feet away from the river.

The Coastal Resiliency Ad Hoc committee worked with Saco’s Water Resource Recovery Department, City Communications Department, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete analysis of three possible resiliency upgrades, and recommended the site design with the highest benefit-cost ratio.

In 2021, Saco voters approved a $50 million bond to fund the upgrades which will elevate the facility, provide new and renovated treatment processes, and expand overall wastewater treatment capacity.


“I would like to thank our residents, who voted overwhelmingly to support this project,” MacPhail said.

In 2022, Collins, in collaboration with U.S. Sen. Angus King, sponsored a Congressionally Directed Spending Request for $3.93 million toward the initial phase of the Saco Water Resource Recovery Project. This funding was signed into law in March of 2022.

The project has also secured other funding, including $2 million in principal loan forgiveness from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and two other Congressionally Directed and Community Project Funding initiatives, bringing the state and federal funding to almost $11 million.

Collins spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony last week, showing her support for the project.

“Wastewater facilities play an important role in the health, economic success, and environmental sustainability of communities throughout Maine,” she said. “This investment will enhance the capacity and efficiency of Saco’s water resource recovery facility, ensuring that it can better meet the needs of their population now and into the future.”

Construction on the facility, which began this spring, is expected to be completed in 2027.

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