Portland, MAINE — Governor Janet Mills today toured two ongoing construction projects in Portland that will improve the City’s wastewater infrastructure and the environmental health of Back Cove and Casco Bay.
During her visit to Back Cove West Storage Conduit and the Back Cove South Storage Facility, Governor Mills highlighted the importance of careers in the construction industry and investments in infrastructure for Maine people, noting a $25 million investment in water infrastructure upgrades and improvements through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.
Among other infrastructure investments, the biennial budget signed into law by Governor Mills dedicates another $50 million to the Maine Department of Transportation for capital projects being constructed this year and stipulates that MaineDOT will also receive 20 percent of unappropriated surplus. In total, this will amount to $55.9 million this year – an unprecedented General Fund investment to improve Maine’s transportation infrastructure.
“Improving our infrastructure will create good-paying construction jobs, improve quality of life for Maine people, better protect our environment, and strengthen our economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Governor Mills. “I was pleased to tour these projects because construction companies like Sargent put Maine people to work at good wages that support a good life here in Maine – and the result of their work is better infrastructure for our people. That’s a win-win.”
“Over nearly a century, Sargent has enjoyed the opportunity to work the breadth of Mane — literally from Kittery to Fort Kent, Bethel-Gilead to Eastport. Our workforce has built Maine,” said Sargent CEO Herb Sargent. “Continuing to invest in our workforce is important to the sustainability of our company and to the construction industry as a community. Society’s physical needs have evolved and will continue to evolve over time; the demands on a skilled workforce will not diminish over time.”
“Maine’s construction workforce adapted quickly to the unusual and unexpected economic and health conditions over the last two years,” said Matt Marks, Executive Director Associated General Contractors of Maine. “This project demonstrates Maine’s continued investment in the infrastructure that cleans our water and provides safe travel from point A to point Z, moves along as expected despite those challenges - all with direct and indirect economic benefits.”
Back Cove West Storage Conduit (BCW) and Back Cove South Storage Facility (BCSSF) will collect the first inch of stormwater in the watershed area and hold it for later treatment at the wastewater treatment plant, reducing costs for the City of Portland and leading to a cleaner Back Cove and Casco Bay.
The Governor is a strong supporter of Maine’s construction industry. Throughout the pandemic, while other states closed the construction industry, Governor Mills kept it open. Her Administration is also investing aggressively in career and technical education and apprenticeships, both through the state budget and the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan (PDF), to promote pathways into good-paying construction jobs.
Governor Mills was joined on the tour by Herb Sargent, Sargent CEO, Glenn Adams, Senior Project Manager for Sargent, and Matt Marks, Associated General Contractors of Maine Executive Director.
“Sargent has a long history of CSO storage and separation projects in the City or Portland. These two projects represent our second and third CSO storage projects for the City. The first was the Baxter Boulevard North Storage Conduit, which we constructed in 2013. In all, the three projects have the ability to capture over 7.75 million gallons of CSO per storm, keeping those flows out of Back Cove and Casco Bay,” said Glenn Adams, Senior Project Manager of the project. “I’m proud to have been part of the team that is improving the quality of life of Mainers with every foot of pipe and every cubic yard of concrete that goes in the ground. The City of Portland has been a great partner on these projects and it is clear that they are committed to tackling this historical problem head-on.”
The need for critical infrastructure improvements, such as upgrades to water treatment plants, storage reservoirs, pipe distribution systems exceeds the State’s current funding capacity.
Under the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the Mills Administration will invest $22 million in municipal wastewater and infrastructure projects, helping to leverage local American Rescue Plan funds and to accelerate the timeline of these essential local projects that protect public health, provide community benefits, reduce the burden for local ratepayers, and support construction jobs. Additionally, the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan provides $3 million for the Small Community Grant Program, which supports septic repair and replacement projects, supporting water quality and public health for communities, water bodies, and fisheries.