Erosion fix could cost $1 million



Evidence of erosion can be seen in this file photo.

Evidence of erosion can be seen in this file photo.

MOUNT DESERT — Stopping the erosion that is causing trees to be uprooted on Acadia National Park land in Seal Harbor will cost at least $100,000.

And that is just for a temporary fix.

The price tag for a permanent solution is expected to exceed $1 million.

For a number of years, serious erosion has been occurring downhill from the rear of the town’s dirt parking lot located across Jordan Pond Road from the fire station. Stormwater from a Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) drainage system on Route 3 and from the town’s drainage system on Jordan Pond Road flows into a catch basin and then through a pipe beneath the parking lot. The water is then discharged into the woods on park property.

Representatives of the town, the park and the MDOT have been working with an engineering firm to determine the best way to deal with the problem. The five options they identified ranged in cost from $270,000 to $1.14 million in 2009 dollars.

The town’s public works director, Tony Smith, said the project team has chosen one option as the best long-term solution. But it will cost at least $1 million, and that amount of money is not currently available.

As a temporary solution, the team has recommended installing a stormwater pre-treatment system under the parking lot that would include a plastic pipe 40 feet long and four feet in diameter, along with five manholes.

“The stormwater will be directed through the pre-treatment system with up to 80 percent of the total suspended solids in the water being removed,” Smith said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt. “There will also be treatment to remove oil and grease.”

From the embankment at the rear of the parking lot, an above-ground pipe would carry the water down the slope, through the woods and into Stanley Brook, a distance of about 290 feet.

Smith told the board of selectmen Monday night that it is anticipated the MDOT and National Park Service would share the estimated $100,000 cost of the project. The town would allow the MDOT to use the parking for installation of the prep-treatment system.

At Smith’s request, the selectmen agreed to place an article on next year’s town meeting warrant asking voters to authorize the granting of a “construction and maintenance easement” to the MDOT.

Smith said the town also might provide in-kind services for the project, such as trucks, other equipment, and perhaps some labor.

The proposed long-term solution to the stormwater erosion problem would involve replacing 1,450 feet of existing lines with larger pipe and installing 1,000 feet of new pipe. Smith said stormwater from both Route 3 and Jordan Pond Road would be carried “through a new closed drainage system down the treatment plant access road … before discharging into Stanley Brook near the Route 3 bridge.”

Because of the anticipated cost of more than $1 million for the permanent solution, Smith said, “It is anticipated that construction will not occur in the foreseeable future.”

Asked by selectman Tom Richardson if the town would be expected to help pay for the permanent fix, Smith said, “I’m trying to avoid our chipping in cash and [instead] doing in-kind services. But part of the stormwater is our stormwater [from Jordan Pond Road], so we may end up ponying up some financial contribution.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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