SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Last week, after the completion of a culvert replacement project, the Department of Environmental Protection officially cleared the town and the water and sewer district of violations incurred in 2016.
In a monthly enforcement report released on Oct. 13, the DEP listed at least 19 violations incurred during the time the town was transferring management of its wastewater treatment plant to the newly formed Southwest Harbor Water and Sewer District. According to the report, DEP officials determined that many of the violations, which included items like exceeding the number of suspended solids set in the permit for effluent discharge, failure to report violations and failure to have a current operation and maintenance plan, were largely due to a lack of supervisory staff to competently operate the treatment plant and make sure that many of the basic requirements were met.
To resolve the violations and address the fine fees of $57,355, the town agreed to a supplemental environmental project (SEP) that could not benefit the town or the district. Friends of Acadia had plans for a culvert replacement project on Marshall Brook Road, and it fit the bill as an SEP. Construction on that culvert was completed at the end of September.
Costs for the culvert project were split between the town and the district. According to district manager Steve Kenney, $25,000 in capital improvement funds were available for the project. Additionally, earlier this year, the town agreed to forgive the district’s annual payment of $26,000 for past sewer debt in order for it to be used toward this project.