STOCKTON SPRINGS — The Select Board is considering another offer from Searsport to join the town’s wastewater system. Select Board members are gauging public opinion on the idea right now.

Searsport has previously invited Stockton Springs to join its wastewater system, but in the past residents did not support the idea, Town Manager Mac Smith said. The town has no municipal wastewater system.

In the past, larger sections of town were looked at for municipal waste and at one point a small area in the center of town was considered for municipal waste, he said. The town can decide to build municipal waste infrastructure wherever it wants, but the larger the area, the more expensive the project.

In 2009, the estimate to build wastewater infrastructure to cover Cape Jellison, part of the inland side of the town and Sandy Point Village was  $20.5 million, according to town documents. The average yearly fee per user would have been $600 to $700 and the average cost to citizens not using the municipal waste system would have been $200 to $300 yearly. Those figures no longer reflect current construction costs.

If Stockton Springs residents support the idea this time, the two towns could apply for grants together to expand the infrastructure along Route 1 and into Stockton, Searsport Town Manager James Gillway said.

The expansion would help property owners in Stockton Springs’ town center, where lots are significantly smaller, Smith said. It could also be more cost-effective for properties with a failed septic system to hook onto municipal septic rather than spend money on a whole new system.

The state requires a minimum of 100 feet between wells and septic systems on properties, which limits some small lots in town as to where they can place a septic system, Gillway added.

“If you can’t repair what you’ve got, you’ve got a real problem, and in the downtown areas especially, very difficult to deal with problems that arise,” he said. “And all systems fail eventually, because they’re not permanent.”

However, Smith said Stockton Springs would likely have to take out a bond to expand sewer lines into the town at a time when it is also considering bonds and grants for a Stockton Harbor breakwater project and a broadband expansion project.

Any grants received would probably not cover the entire cost of the project, he said. And if the town did receive grants it might require extra people to fulfill any duties or obligations required of the town to receive the funds.

Searsport is currently looking to expand wastewater infrastructure in town along Route 1, Gilway said. Right now, the infrastructure along Route 1 ends about two miles from the Stockton Springs town line. If the towns applied for grants together, they might have a better chance of acquiring the funds.

Sewer lines in the town are in good shape and it recently acquired the funds to update its wastewater plant, he said. The plant will move from a primary system to a secondary system, which will filter more pollutants from the wastewater before it flows into the bay.

The town needs to expand wastewater infrastructure eastward and the town hopes to use any leftover money from the wastewater system expansion to seek funding to extend its sewer lines, he said. The last expansion was 16 years ago.

If Stockton Springs were interested, it would expand sewer lines along Route 1, opposite the waterline, into the town, he said. The idea is just exploratory to see if there is interest in both towns. The expansion into Stockton Springs could result in the capture of more wastewater pollutants before they get into the bay.

“It’s just looking to the future and the ability to clean up the bay a little bit better,” Gillway said. “The thought that we could capture more of our residents heading eastbound,” he said.

Smith said the Select Board might be discussing the idea again at an Aug. 22 meeting. Residents can share their opinions on the idea with Select Board members during the Open to the Public portion of the meeting.