CORINNA — For years, users of the Corinna Sewer District have been paying for the treatment of rainwater that flows through the town’s street-collection system into the wastewater treatment plant. However, after town meeting action Monday night, that expense will be borne by all of the taxpayers in town.
Townspeople voted to raise $18,000 to pay for the treatment of storm water at the sewer district’s treatment plant. Prior to this, users of the treatment facility were the only ones footing the bill.
Tom Todd, superintendent of the sewer district, told voters that there was no way for the district to separate the storm water from the wastewater unless a new system were constructed. This new system, which has been the subject of discussion for a number of years, probably will need to be constructed sooner than many in town originally thought, Todd told voters Monday night.
The Department of Environmental Protection has told sewer district representatives, he said, that they expect Corinna to start making plans for a new system and have listed the town on their high priority list for such work.
“The DEP has told me that they expect to see some type of construction in the next five years in this town,” he said.
Because the Sebasticook River watershed is considered to be such an environmentally sensitive area, he said, the DEP is paying very close attention to what is happening in the area. The DEP is expecting to see some type of scope and assessment study completed this year, he said, adding that the agency would be active in making sure that such a study was undertaken.
Todd said the $18,000 that voters approved Monday night would not be used to lower the rates of Corinna Sewer District users. Instead, it will be used to help pay for this study. Todd estimated that the money would cover the intitial cost of an engineering study. Grant money may be available to cover a portion of the actual cost of the project.
Sewer district representatives had tried to convince the state that the state should pay for a share of the cost of the treatment of the storm water because the state owns many of the major roads in the sewer district user area, he said, but the state refused. Todd said the town, like some others, might be able to take legal action against the state for its refusal, but court costs would probably be very high, he said.