letter to the editor

Wall for what?

Mon, 04/01/2024 - 3:45pm

Dear Editor:

To my friends who pay a sewer bill in Boothbay Harbor, I question why we need an $8.3 million concrete wall around the plant.

During the recent high tides and storms, I took photos downtown. The east side of the footbridge was under water (the bridge house looked to be floating), Pier 1 was being flooded and the Tugboat Inn parking lot was under water, yet the sewer plant was high and dry. More pictures showed that the water wasn’t even up to the lowest part of the SBR (sequential batch reactors) tank and there was at least five or six feet clearance to the process building and garage.

My prior knowledge of the plant as a former employee is that when the tide is at its highest and the plant has to discharge effluent water from the plant during this period called Storm Flow, it backflows back on to the property via the Contact Tank overflowing or the discharge mushroom on the outflow. When the plant’s diffusers on the ocean bottom can’t discharge effluent properly due to pressure caused by the high tides, the water overflows the Contact Tank or the discharge mushroom. That’s my theory to stop an $8.3 million engineering mistake to follow one of two SBR plants built in Maine that has this flaw. If you look at the right front corner of the Contact Tank facing Sea Street, you can see where that overflowed in the past. It happened a few times when I worked there over 14 years ago.

Put sandbags in your storm protocol at distant intervals when this happens. $8.3 million is not going to fix your problem. Maybe 30 years from now, 30% of the town will be in real peril. Save that money. The town needs help and a plan.

If the district wants to spend money now, how about a sewer line at least to River Road to protect our more valuable water supply.

A useless concrete wall is not in the users best interest to pay for it now. Don’t waste all that money.

Marc Brewer

Boothbay Harbor