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New Drinking Water Resource Center Awarded Envision Silver

New facility will provide high-quality water and protection of natural resources for 40,000 residents

(NEW YORK, NY – July 18, 2022) – Maine Water Company’s Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center (SRDWRC) was recently awarded the Envision Silver Award for sustainable infrastructure. The project partners — Maine Water, Hazen and Sawyer, and MWH Construction — were recognized for collaboration on sustainable design concepts and successfully engaging the community and other stakeholders.

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The new center treats and filters water from the Saco River in Biddeford, Maine, and provides a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water to 40,000 people in the communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Pine Point. The center has the capacity to produce up to 12 million gallons of treated and filtered drinking water per day, which is enough to support the economic development goals of the community and provide a robust flow of water to fire hydrants to support fire protection. Stormwater management tools and wetland preservation will also ensure the preservation of valuable local natural resources, including a red maple swamp and a wild brook trout habitat.

Matt Valade, Technical Design Leader for the project and Regional Water Practice Group Leader for Hazen and Sawyer, said, “Maine Water was committed to sustainable design from the outset, so the Envision framework was embraced early on. The award recognizes Maine Water for building back better and setting an example for how to do these generational projects well.”

Renewable power will meet the facility’s energy demands. In addition, a 1.1 MW photovoltaic array will be built just southwest of the facility’s site boundary to lessen the reliance on purchased energy and instead meet demands through on-site power generation.

The project also incorporates several stormwater management and revegetation practices, including the addition of storm-berm level spreaders to reduce flow, buffers to remove contaminants, and an underdrain soil filter to collect and redirect runoff. Revegetation of 4,514 square feet of an existing parking lot will allow water to filter through the soil before reaching the Saco River.

A 2015 site survey of the SRDWRC revealed the site contains wetland areas. Although this project will only impact 1.88 acres of the site, Maine Water is preserving 257 acres of high-ecological-value land as part of the project. It includes a red maple swamp and the entire stream frontage along Swan Pond Brook, which is an important wild brook trout habitat. This substantial preservation area more than offsets the 1.88 acres of wetland impact.

The facility was built with long-term reliability in mind, with all critical equipment within the facility either above the Design Floodplain Elevation or fully submersible. All structural components will be watertight, preventing floodwaters from entering the building, and the raw water intake pipe will be placed at the lowest possible point to handle fluctuating Saco River water levels. This resilient facility will continue to provide high-quality water to local residents for decades to come.