PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The city of Portland unveiled another tier in their storm water drainage system along Baxter Boulevard Monday morning.
The city is installing concrete conduits into the ground near Back Cove that will hold up to 2-million gallons of storm water and sewage, which can then be sent to the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility. This prevents the waste from being discharged into the bay, which happens now during any major rain storm.
This new construction project is just the first installment of about 400 conduits that will help hold water throughout the city. It's just one piece of a much larger project the city has been working on for years to try to clean up Casco Bay and Back Cove.
"Over the last 20 years [the city has] focused on what has been called combined sewer overflows, which is when it rains really hard, the sewer system cant handle it, and some of it gets discharged to the bay," says Jim Dusch, with the Maine Deparment of Environmental Protection. "Projects like this prevent all of that water from hitting the bay without being treated."
In 1993, the city saw 700-million gallons of untreated overflow pouring into the bay, polluting the water and everything in it. In the last 10 years, Mike Bobinsky, the Director of Portland Public Services, says that number has decreased to 400-million gallons. He says the city has made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot more work to be done.
The goal is to have this project finished and Baxter Boulevard once again opened to traffic by June. The next installment of conduits will be near Marginal Way; though that project won't start until 2015.