If you missed its original airing, please review this video news report by WGME-TV. Channel 13 joined us on October 31, as Maine Water invited a variety of community leaders to inspect our treatment facility on the Saco River in Biddeford, a plant that provides drinking water of the highest quality to Biddeford, Saco, Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach. The reason for doing so is that two engineering firms — Tata & Howard and Woodard & Curran — are now wrapping up a Comprehensive System Facility Plan that examines both the treatment plant and our distribution system in these four communities. We have released the first volume of this report to public officials, and anticipate releasing Volume II in early 2014.
In brief, the study concludes that although the Biddeford plant has great “old bones,” major upgrades are required. In addition, the study reports that, “The entire treatment facility is located within the 100 year floodplain of the Saco River,” and that “the facility as it is presently configured could not remain in production during flood conditions…” The study concludes that, “the facility’s location within the floodplain is a serious threat to its long-term viability on the current site.” Obviously this is a big concern.
Maine Water has not decided yet whether to upgrade the current plant and stay in the same location for the long-term, or to begin thinking seriously about rebuilding in a location safely removed from the floodplain. Reaching the correct decision will require careful and comprehensive deliberation, and above all, it will require input from many stakeholders. As in all the communities we serve throughout the state, Maine Water puts a premium on close collaboration with the general public and municipal leaders. Key to any productive collaboration are openness, transparency and full access to important information. Over time, this blog should prove to be a valuable channel in that regard, so — stay tuned!
For your information, additional news reports about the treatment plant tour appeared in the Journal Tribune and the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier. Also, the Journal Tribune published this perceptive editorial on November 9th.