St. John Valley

Sewer project has Route 1 down to one lane in Frenchville

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Traffic along Route 1 in Frenchville is down to one lane near Heritage Park as workers install a long-awaited force main to repair the town’s sewer system. 

Mobile traffic lights are in place to ensure public safety as Ed Pelletier and Sons plants roughly 3,200 feet of piping underground from the pump station to the wastewater treatment facility. 

Built in the early 1990s, the Frenchville wastewater treatment facility has served that town and neighboring St. Agatha since 2013 when the municipalities entered into a cost savings agreement to share waste disposal services. 

The facility is in dire need of upgrades and repairs to parts of its existing pump station, to the tune of more than $1.2 million. At the heart of the project is the need to replace existing 4-inch pipe with 6-inch pipe to better accommodate wastewater flows. 

Surface discharge — sewage that sits on top of the ground — of untreated sewage due to an overflow in the system revealed a need for the costly project.

So far the project is moving along well, but not without at least one surprise, according to Frenchville town manager David D. Cyr. 

While digging up the ground, Ed Pelletier and Sons came across an old concrete foundation for a scale used to weigh potato trucks. 

Cyr used to be the town manager of Mars Hill and recalled a similarly interesting development while working on a project down that way. 

“In Mars Hill, we found an old horse drawn mower buried underneath Main Street,” Cyr said. “Anytime you put a shovel in the ground, you never know what you’re going to find.”

The town is funding the project with two different grants — a $758,000 Northern Border Regional Commission grant and a $445,000 grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“This doesn’t happen that often. We count ourselves fortunate to be able to secure enough grant funding to make this happen,” Cyr said. 

He said the project is expected to be completed sometime in September. 
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the road that will be down to one lane of traffic. U.S. Route 1 is the road affected bu the sewer project.

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