Grand Isle gets $250,000 grant to upgrade water, wastewater facilities

1 week ago

GRAND ISLE, Maine – The Northern Border Regional Commission recently awarded Grand Isle a $250,000 grant to help with a project to upgrade local water and wastewater facilities. 

The total project, estimated to cost $4,195,000, includes upgrading both the water and wastewater treatment plants along with four wastewater pump stations.

Municipal Clerk Debbie Gendreau said the project will help the town adhere to new regulations regarding the spreading of sludge due to PFAS, also known as forever chemicals.

“The spreading of sludge is a big issue for all small communities,” Gendreau said. Grand Isle, located in northern Aroostook County, has around 370 residents.

The existing water and wastewater treatment facilities are about three decades old. Upgrades to the water treatment facility will help modernize their operations, but the town does not have any issues with its water quality. 

Water treatment facility upgrades include computerized alarm systems, an upgraded filtration system, and more efficient metering. Out of the roughly $4.2 million required for the entire project, the water treatment facility aspect will cost just under $1 million while the remainder will help update the town’s wastewater system upgrades.

“The water would keep going, and the water quality is phenomenal for Grand Isle,” she said. “The sewer system is taking the bulk of that money, and it’s definitely going to improve.”

Part of the sewer system upgrades include upgrading the pumps to handle items, such as disposable wipes, which can clog the system. Gendreau said the new grinder pumps would absolutely be able to handle these items without any issues. 

Including the recent NBRC grant, the town has raised about $2.5 million toward the project. Gendreau said town officials are still looking at other grant opportunities to raise the remaining amount. 

The project’s outcome will ultimately depend on the amount of money the town can raise.

Gendreau said engineers believe the work could go out to bid at some point in 2025.