PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Work will soon begin on the first phase of the largest public works project in the city's history.
"This is about the largest we've had to do by twice," stated Brad Roland, a senior project engineer with Portland Public Services.
"In the next 15 years, we are looking at creating 17 million gallons worth of storage around the city," Roland explained about the $170 million project that will take nearly 20 years to complete. "We have got 5 different projects, this is just the first one, and we're collecting 2 million gallons, so we've got another 15 million that we are going to be going after in the effort to try to reduce that combined sewer overflow (CSO) volume."
The roughly $10 million dollar first phase calls for a massive, one million gallon, concrete storage tank to be placed underneath Baxter Boulevard, and another three tanks, with a million gallons in combined storage, buried under Payson Park.
The tanks will hold rain water and sewerage until it can be processed at the city's waste water treatment facility instead of flowing freely into Back Cove.
"The objective of the project is to try to capture the combined sewer overflow from 3 CSO's, #5, #6, #7 that collectively last year discharged about 85 million gallons of sewage into Back Cove," explained Roland. He says that amount represents about 20 percent of the CSO volume that flowed from the city into the ocean last year.
Construction, which is scheduled to begin in early November, will force work crews to close Baxter Boulevard from Vannah Street to Bates Street to vehicular traffic for about eight months. Payson Park will remain open, but will have to be accessed from Ocean Avenue. The popular recreation trail around Back Cove will remain open throughout the project.
There will be a public information meeting about the project on Wednesday, September 26th at Ocean Avenue School beginning at 6pm.