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January 9, 2017

Contractor named to design $50M Saco River water-treatment facility

photo/TIM GREENWAY
photo/TIM GREENWAY
Judy Wallingford, president of Maine Water, in the filter building at the drinking water treatment facility in Saco. The water company has named an international engineering firm to design a new water treatment facility near the Saco River in Biddeford.

Maine Water has selected Hazen for the engineering design services necessary to build a new water treatment facility near the Saco River in Biddeford.

New York City-based Hazen is an international engineering firm with over 65 years' experience in the water industry, specializing in water and wastewater facility design, process optimization and treatment solutions. Recent New England projects include design of the LEED-certified water treatment plant in Portsmouth, N.H., and an upgrade to the water treatment plant in Stamford, Conn.

Rick Knowlton, Maine Water's vice president of operations, said a variety of considerations factored into Hazen's selection. "First, an on-time and on-budget project is paramount," he said. "But we were also looking for someone who understands how closely we need to collaborate with our service communities during construction, a process that could take more than three years."

Knowlton said the new facility, a $50 million investment in the region's infrastructure, will serve Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough and will eventually provide drinking water to 50,000 area residents.

A unique design consideration of the new facility in Biddeford is that water systems to the west and southwest may soon explore connection options to the Saco River to pursue regional drought protection objectives and water supply and redundancy objectives that southern Maine water utilities, as a group, have studied for over a decade.

"Hazen did a good job of understanding that complex dynamic. We also liked their grasp of increasingly stringent water quality standards and our insistence on environmental sustainability, including the use of renewable energy at the new facility," Knowlton said.

Maine Water's existing treatment facility sits squarely in the floodplain of the Saco River and is 133 years old. The new facility will be well out of the floodplain, on the western side of South Street in Biddeford.

Knowlton estimates that project design and approvals will take about 18 months, and that construction will conclude some time in 2020.

Maine Water serves 32,000 customers, or a population of 100,000, in over 20 communities throughout the state of Maine.

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