Long-awaited improvements to the West Falmouth sewer system, including an expansion of the Falmouth Road pump station, are expected to begin within a month.
The improvement project is part of the West Falmouth Sewer Master Plan, which was crafted in 2017 to address the increased demand on the town’s system.
This spring, Falmouth signed a $5.4 million contract with Pratt & Sons, an excavating contractor based in Minot, to complete the West Falmouth Sewer project upgrades. The project is included in the town’s new budget and is funded in part by a 3% increase in the sewer rate, according to Town Manager Nathan Poore.
The project consists of work on Middle Road from Lunt Road to the Woods Road rotary; Woodville Road to Woods Road through The Woodlands subdivision; and upgrades to the pump station on Falmouth Road.
One of the major components of the project is enlarging the Falmouth Road pump station because the Mill Road and Leighton Road stations overwhelm it when the flow is high.
A new Falmouth Road pump station force main will bypass the Pinehurst Drive and Woodlands Clubhouse stations to allow for future growth and reduce the cost to the town by eliminating the need to upsize the Pinehurst Drive and Woodlands Clubhouse pump stations, according to the master plan.
The project is expected to begin later this month or in early July with pipe installation and tree clearing along Middle Road, starting at Lunt Road and extending to the Falmouth Spur overpass, according to Falmouth’s Wastewater Superintendent Dan Marks.
“There will be traffic control along Middle Road, which may involve single-lane traffic with flaggers or detours around Middle Road utilizing Falmouth Road,” Marks said. “The largest impact will be at the Middle Road/Bucknam Road intersection. We anticipate that the contractor will perform some of the work at night to minimize impacts to traffic.”
Marks said the town does not anticipate significant traffic delays, but alternate routes will reduce the pressure on Middle Road during construction.
The first phase of construction in The Woodlands began in early January and was completed in April after sewer pipes under three culverts in the subdivision were installed. The remaining pipes will be placed later this fall as part of the contract that includes the work on Middle Road.
Sewer work in The Woodlands subdivision has been controversial since 2019. In November, the homeowners association filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the town, claiming that a sewer easement the town has in the neighborhood only grants the town the right to repair and maintain the existing system.
“The legal basis (of the lawsuit) remains the town’s attempt to inappropriately use the earlier easement to build a new, separate sewer through private property without permission,” Jonathan Brogan, the homeowners association’s lawyer, told The Forecaster in November 2019.
In December, the Maine Superior Court ruled that the town has the “unambiguous” right to extend a sewer line through The Woodlands.
Homeowners Association President Jim Solley did not respond to requests for comment.