The Office of Gov. Janet Mills has announced that nearly $20 million in state funding is going to more than a dozen communities to help protect infrastructure against the effects of climate change, and among the recipients are Winslow and the Sewer District, the Anson and Madison supplied.
The Maine Department of Transportation will provide the grants designed to make infrastructure more resilient to flooding, rising sea levels and extreme storms that are occurring more frequently.
Winslow will receive $2.7 million and the Anson-Madison Sanitary District will receive $842,000. The funding was announced by Mills’ office last week.
Winslow City Manager Erica LaCroix said the city will use the money to increase the capacity of its stormwater system, which will ensure water flows more freely from streets, homes and other places where flooding has occurred, such as McDonald’s and Cumberland Farms, can drain off parking lots.
The city is focused on Cushman Road and Robert Street, which runoff near McDonald’s and Cumberland Farms during severe storms, causing property damage, she said. Fixing drainage in these areas will mitigate flooding further down the hill.
“It sounds like a lot of money just to deal with pipes and concrete structures, but it will literally cost that much to dig the roads, install the new culvert structures, and pay engineers to plan the flow of water from the neighborhoods,” She said.
LaCroix said she expects flooding to become more frequent.
“This money will allow us to finally get in there and fully utilize the stormwater system so we can help protect the neighborhoods and the businesses in this area,” she said.
She later added, “We’re just really grateful to be able to get this funding and address flooding issues that have been getting worse over time, especially as we know it will continue to be so in the future.”
Meanwhile, Anson-Madison Sanitary District general manager Dale Clark said the district will use the grant money to upgrade its stormwater system and prevent excessive flow into the treatment plant.
“This will help Main Street Madison with heavy rain events,” Clark said.
The pipes used by the plumbing district are 15 inches in diameter, and Clark said the plan is to install pipes up to 30 inches in diameter.
“The pipes are currently too small,” he said. “What happens is the pipe gets so full it can’t hold any more water and Main Street Madison gets flooded.”
The passage of the federal Clean Water Act in 1972 prompted the city to build a sewage treatment plant, but over time, rainwater and sewage became mixed. Now the sanitary district only treats wastewater, not rainwater.
Clark said the size of the pipes and the old stormwater infrastructure have been a problem for the past 20 years.
“The goal is to keep the Kennebec River clean,” Clark said. “We treat the water from every home in Anson-Madison, removing all contaminants before releasing it back into the river.”
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