Engineer outlines wastewater disposal options

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Bridgton’s economic future is directly tied to the town’s ability to handle wastewater.

Brent Bridges, a senior principal with the engineering firm of Woodard & Curran of Portland, is close to laying out options Bridgton can consider to improve and expand its wastewater treatment facilities.

By the end of the month, Bridges will provide selectmen with a detailed report regarding cost estimates associated with three primary treatment options, as well as system expansion.

Currently, the town utilizes two “beds” — one off Wayside Avenue (known as the “Dodge” bed) and beneath Junior Harmon Field off Lower Main Street.

The two disposal fields currently handle a flow rate of about 30,000 gallons of wastewater per day. Those fields are equipped to handle a maximum flow of 40,000 gallons per day. Currently, there are 102 users on the system.

Proposed expansion of the system would increase flow by an additional 95,000 gallons per day to 126,000, thus also increasing the potential user number from 102 to over 400. New “connections” could include residential and commercial properties.

While sewer lines is one piece of the puzzle, disposal is another. Treated wastewater can either be sent “on the ground” or “in the ground.” Bridges said current disposal practices include traditional “back in the ground” leach fields, which would require 20 to 22 acres, or “spray irrigation” in which treated wastewater is “sprayed” onto a field or into woodlands, or “pressure dispersed,” which water is pumped into the ground surface.

Bridges noted that water “sprayed” has been treated, and has no odor.

Testing and monitoring are done to be sure licensing standards are met, Bridges said.

More discussion is expected once the engineering report is complete.

In other selectmen’s news:

250th celebration. Bridgton was settled in 1768, by Benjamin Kimball. If the town plans to celebrate the 250th year milestone, it will be a major undertaking requiring lots of coordination and volunteers.

Just ask Selectman Bob McHatton.

Back in 1968 when the town held its 200-year celebration, McHatton was introduced to this rural community. He fell in love with Bridgton, moved here in 1969 and has been her since.

He recalled the amount of time and work his wife and others put into the celebration. Selectmen unanimously voted to charge its Events Committee to lead the charge in the planning process. Historical Society and Rufus Porter Museum members are interested in working on the 2018 celebration, but did not want to assume “the lead,” Town Manager Bob Peabody said.

Conference call. Selectmen entered executive session at 5:10 p.m. to speak with the town’s attorney via a conference call. They met in the old selectmen’s meeting room upstairs. Selectmen reopened the public meeting at 6 p.m.

Dangerous building declared. By a 5-0 vote, selectmen deemed property owned by Benjamin J. Guiliani Sr., at 218 Willis Park Road as a “dangerous building.”

Code Officer Robbie Baker told selectmen that conversations with the owner have been limited, and when an individual was evicted from the property, the owner “went in and cleaned it up a little bit.”

Baker provided selectmen with photos dated Dec. 28, 2016 showing discarded appliances outdoors, a dismantled interior floor, garbage and other items left by a tenant, and a pressed plywood doorway that has a significant hole at the bottom.

Under Maine statute, an order could be issued that the property be demolished at the owner’s expense.

Another traffic light on horizon? Selectmen Bear Zaidman and Bernie King have seen too many near collisions at the intersection of Sandy Creek Road and Route 302 (near Paris Farmers Union).

They fear a major accident is on the horizon unless steps are taken to improve safety there.

So, Zaidman pushed the idea of having the Maine Department of Transportation take a look and determine if a traffic light should be placed at this intersection.

King told selectmen that he nearly was involved in a collision just recently, but avoided one because he correctly anticipated a driver pulling out in front of him.

“If I hadn’t anticipated the driver doing it, it would have been disastrous,” he said. “This area has been a dangerous intersection for a long time. A traffic light is sorely needed.”

Selectmen voted 5-0 to have the town manager petition MDOT to check the intersection.

Rumble strip coming. Travel too close to the centerline and you will know it in 2017.

This summer, MDOT will install centerline rumble strips on Route 302. The first will be at the 50 mph sign west of Sweden Road to the 35 mph sign east of Fire Lane 28, which Town Manager Bob Peabody suspects is in Fryeburg (“We don’t have Fire Lanes anymore,” Peabody told selectmen. And when Bridgton was using Fire Lane #, 28 was on Kansas Road).

The second will be at the 55 mph sign near Warren Lane to the 40 mph sign north of the Bridgton Drive-In and south of Sandy Creek Road.

The strips will be installed in areas that speeds are 45 mph or over and shoulder widths meet or exceed four feet in width.

No $ for green space. Since the town missed the chance to reseed the “green spaces” along Depot Street — and with voters supporting to allow the Farmers’ Market to set up shop there in 2017 — selectmen won’t spend any money to address the turf problems there until possibly fall. Officials will also likely look at other options, as well.

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