Maine CDC Press Release
May 6, 2014
Maine CDC Celebrates Investments in Safe, Affordable Drinking Water
May 4-10 is National Drinking Water Week
GARDINER - Federal, state, and local officials gathered at City Hall in Gardiner on Monday to celebrate the latest project funded through Maine’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to improve the delivery and reliability of safe drinking water to a Maine community.
The project, designed by Wright-Peirce Engineers of Topsham, will replace Gardiner Water District’s old, undersized, 500,000 gallon steel water storage tank with a new, properly sized, pre-stressed concrete tank. The project is one of more than 300 construction projects funded by the DWSRF since its inception in 1997 and marks over $200 million invested in Maine’s water system infrastructure since then.
Managed by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (Maine CDC) Drinking Water Program, the DWSRF plays a critical role in funding for public waters systems in Maine. Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of the Maine CDC, acknowledged the important role the DWSRF has had in protecting public health in Maine.
“For the last 16 years, this fund has allowed public water systems throughout Maine, from Madawaska to South Berwick and Eastport to Andover, to make essential improvements to their water systems to ensure safe and reliable drinking water and provide public health protection to the people of Maine.”
Maine received the first DWSRF grant award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 1997. The first loan was made to Madawaska Water District in March 1998. “Since that first project, the DWSRF has helped water systems find new sources of water, install and upgrade treatment processes, replace many miles of aging and deteriorating water pipe, increase or replace storage, as well as many other projects to improve the safety and reliability of the water supplies,” said Roger Crouse, Director of the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program.
Through low-interest loans and principal forgiveness for some communities, the DWSRF provides a significant cost savings to water rate payers including residential customers, small and large businesses, manufacturing facilities and government entities. “Financing through the DWSRF allows these needed water systems repairs and upgrades to be affordable to both the water systems and their rate payers,” Crouse said. “Without the DWSRF, some water systems simply couldn’t afford to make these improvements.”
The $200 million in investments has also provided an economic boost to many Maine communities. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2008 Infrastructure Report Card, an estimated 45 jobs per million spent have been created. For Maine, this equates to 9,000 jobs.
The celebration of Gardiner Water District’s latest project to replace their aging water storage tank also coincides with National Drinking Water Week, May 4-10, a weeklong celebration that provides an opportunity for the public to recognize the essential role drinking water plays in our daily lives.