Woodard & Curran Project Wins ACEC Grand Conceptor Award in Maine

Published: 11/11/2016

Woodard & Curran’s work with the Town of Oxford, Maine to design and build a new wastewater collection and treatment system has received The Grand Conceptor Award from the Maine chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies. 

The Town of Oxford, Maine has been undergoing an extended period of growth and development; but did not have centralized wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal facilities to accommodate the recent rise in economic activity.  The Town hired Woodard & Curran as their Technical Design Engineering Consulting firm to help secure funding, perform permitting and design, and oversee construction of a state of the art treatment facility and sanitary sewer collection system.  The facilities were built from the ground up to help promote economic activity and growth while serving to protect cherished environmental resources like the Little Androscoggin River.

The collection system includes five sanitary pump stations to accommodate the Town’s site topography and the entire sanitary collection system includes three bridge crossings and approximately 32,000 linear feet of gravity piping and 17,000 linear feet of force main pressure pipe.

The project solved an ongoing challenge in Town: to provide a means for robust collection and treatment of sanitary wastewater. A large portion of the Town of Oxford has less than ideal soil conditions for individual on-site treatment and disposal systems, usually referred to as septic systems.  Previously failed systems had been linked to contamination of groundwater supplies and wells.  The project improved the health, safety and welfare of the public as well as the surrounding environment.

The project used out-of-the-ordinary technology and ingenuity in the pre-selection and design process to deliver the best facility to the Town. Due to limited land area, a variable user base, and advanced effluent limits to be met, a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) treatment process was chosen for the Oxford Wastewater Treatment Facility. Oxford’s facility will be the first (MBR) treatment process employed at a municipal treatment facility in the history of the state of Maine.  A pre-procurement process and evaluated bid were used in advance of design and construction to select the treatment system manufacturer for the Oxford WWTF. While not common, this alternative delivery process assured the Town of Oxford would get the best MBR system for the long-term. 

The design of the treatment facility handled concerns that went beyond the Town’s wastewater capacity. Since the facility is located in a highly developed area of Town, architectural considerations were of paramount importance to the design and the building was designed to mimic the architecture of a barn. The WWTF includes a new outfall system to the Little Androscoggin River and the Town worked with Maine DEP to obtain a new discharge permit for the facility.  Energy efficiency was also a key component of the building construction with the WWTF and the Town will realize these energy cost-savings benefits from the outset.

The project was an economical and cost-effective solution for the Town.  The total project cost was approximately $28,000,000. Woodard & Curran helped the Town obtain funding for the project entirely through USDA Rural Development, which included a 45% grant package.  This project will meet the current and future needs of the Town of Oxford by providing 297 residents and 383 total users by the first full year a safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible way to manage the Town’s wastewater. The system has the potential to help attract more economic growth to the region and with it, more jobs, which will help the rural town continue to building its vibrant community.

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