Portland, ME: the Hefty Price of Keeping Sewage Out of Our Water

"PORTLAND, Maine -- On April 23, heavy rains pounded Portland. The next day, many of the city’s most recognizable water bodies were the color of sewage."

"'I look out my window at the bay and it’s brown,' said Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne, whose Friends of Casco Bay headquarters is across Portland Harbor in South Portland. 'When I see just the visuals from a storm like that and know that millions and millions of gallons of pollutants and sewage and runoff went into the bay it makes me anxious and saddened.'

Two decades after the city of Portland entered into a consent agreement with federal environmental regulators to systematically eliminate combined sewer-stormwater overflows, or CSOs, signs of the overflows are still prominent after every major rainstorm.

Equally striking for Portlanders is the estimated $170 million price tag tied to the next 15 years of working on the problem, a cost that comes on top of $94 million spent or scheduled to be spent on sewer system fixes between 1993 and 2014, and which is expected to double or triple sewer bills for many local ratepayers."

Seth Koenig reports for the Bangor Daily News May 4, 2012.

Source: Bangor Daily News, 05/07/2012