OXFORD — Town Manager Butch Asselin said repeated calls to the Oxford Pines Regency Mobile Home Park owner have gone unanswered and at this point he considers the possibility of adding the park as a Wastewater Treatment Facility customer improbable.
The effort was being made to enable the town to use between $400,000 to $500,000 in unused grant money left over from construction of the $28.5 million wastewater treatment plant. The money must be returned unless it is used to extend the project that is now winding down after nearly five years.
Instead, the town is now concentrating on tying in the Oxford Elementary School located on Pleasant Street.
Asselin told the Board of Selectmen at its Jan 11 meeting that he met with Wastewater Treatment Plant engineer Brent Bridges of Brent M. Bridges, P.E., senior principal at Woodard & Curran in Portland on site that morning to review the job.
He said the idea is to have to bring the tie-in pipe to the corner of the school building at the town’s cost and then allow it to tie in.
Asselin said the estimated $200,000 cost the town to create the stub at the building would hopefully be paid for through grant money.
The school has resisted connecting in the past because of the high cost but if plans work out it would be in tied in as early as next summer.
The plan to tie in as many as 150 lots at the Oxford Pines Regency Park from the pumping station on Route 26, would have allowed its residents to tie into a pump station that would be built near the mobile home park.
Bridges told the Advertiser Democrat that the Oxford Pines Regency Park owner didn’t appear to be interested in investing the money it would take to do the work because he has been putting money into replacing some of the septic systems when they fail and will continue to do that.
The mobile home park is the largest existing business that could tie in at this time.
The town had offered only to bring the sewer and a pump station up to the land, and then the owner would do all the work on his property, Bridges said.
Bridges said that in the initial planning for the treatment plant facility the trailer park connection was not part of the discussion.
“We hadn’t planned on the trailer park being connected so it doesn’t change anything at this point but having a large customer earlier on would help,” he said.
In addition to using the excess grant money, officials hoping to tie in additional large scale users to increase the effluent going into the treatment plant. The plant is currently running at about 20 percent of its design capacity, Zhenya Shevchenko, chief operator, said last month.
In addition to businesses along Route 26 such as the Oxford Casino and Hampton Inn tying in to the facility early on, the recent opening of the Oxford Casino Hotel is expected to help, said Shevchenko.
At one point, the plant was taking in effluent from neighboring Mechanic Falls to help supplement the lack of flow.
The lack of customers has not only affected the gravity-fed plant’s operation but the financial operation of the plant.