City Council tables the Echo Lake project until next meeting

9 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — City councilors voted unanimously Wednesday to table the Echo Lake proposal for the upgraded septic system project until the next city council meeting.

The city councilors had planned to vote on a $1,015,500 bid by McGillan Inc. for the Echo Lake Project, according to Galen Weibley, Economic and Community Development director.

City staff requested a motion to table the Echo Lake project until Wednesday, Sept. 27, because the U.S Department of Environmental Protection, which administers the $550,000 grant Presque Isle received, attached a couple strings to the money that need resolution.

“EPA in their bureaucracy has not issued a final ruling to say that we are waived from those requirements,” Wiebley said.

The next day on Thursday, Sept. 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved of the project plans, according to Weibley.

One outstanding issue was a provision in the Build America Buy America Act (BABA) — part of the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act enacted on November 15, 2021 — that says all materials for construction projects using federal funds have to be built, or bought, in the United States.

A waiver allows the Echo Lake project to be exempt from BABA if the designs were created before 2022.

The preliminary design for the new septic system for the Echo Lake project was created in 2020, with the final site plans being approved by the Planning Board in June 2023, according to Weibley. Contractor Haley Ward Inc. will be in touch with McGillan to confirm if the pricing for the project falls under the BABA guidelines.

The other issue was there was a provision to put a construction sign that states the project is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The city is also waiting on attorney Richard Currier to do the right-of-way easements for the city to plow the road and to allow the maintenance staff to go onto the septic sites to complete a site check on the septic systems.

Residents have had to share a septic tank between them, but the upgraded septic system from the updated Echo Lake Project will give residents individual tanks. Residents will be asked to sign formal maintenance agreements.