State amends agreement with Northport Village Corp. over wastewater discharge

By Ben Holbrook | Feb 20, 2013

Northport — The state amended a consent agreement with the Northport Village Corp. after upgrades were made to the existing wastewater treatment facility to address past violations.

According to a Department of Environmental Protection report, the 2003 agreement was amended because the town had taken steps to fix the violations.

The original agreement required the town to submit semi-annual progress reports regarding efforts to secure funding for the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility; design a new wastewater facility; secure approval from residents to finance the new facility; submit design documents to the DEP for review and approval; award bids for the construction of the facility; and to complete construction on the new wastewater facility.

Since signing the consent agreement, Northport Village Corp. has taken steps to repair the existing facility, but provides only primary treatment for the wastewater, the report states. The Northport Village Corp. had also complied with submitting all required progress reports, but had yet to secure the necessary funding for a new wastewater treatment facility.

Utilities Superintendent Richard McElhaney was able to correct errors in the flow measurements, as well as institute measures to reduce violations. In addition, the town was able to modify its discharge license. The change allowed for up to 63,000 gallons to be discharged daily, up from the 10,000 gallons a day previously allowed.

The primary issues associated with the wastewater treatment facility that resulted in the DEP's seeking the 2003 consent agreement were related to the facility's discharging wastewater in excess of its licensed limits, and with fresh water infiltrating the system.

McElhaney said a number of upgrades to the wastewater facility were completed over the course of several years to bring the facility into compliance with the DEP's requirements.

Those upgrades included extending the outflow pipe to 600 feet into the bay and fixing leaking pipes in several areas. He said repairs were also made to the two septic tanks that developed leaks, which allowed them to be brought back into use.

The 2003 consent agreement required the Northport Village Corp. to raise funds to construct a secondary wastewater treatment facility. According to a 2012 town report, that facility could have cost $6 million to build. McElhaney said the upgrades to the existing facility allow for treatment sufficient to make the secondary facility not necessary.

Most of the funding to complete the upgrades was provided through a federal grant and a small loan, McElhaney said.

"We were very fortunate to get the grant," McElhaney said. "Pretty much all of the issues have been addressed."

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at

Comments (1)
Posted by: wellington dunbar | Feb 21, 2013 16:16

In the final analysis, the secondary treatment is Penobscot Bay as it always has been just further out and therefore more out of mind. If this article is correct, what was a 10,000 gal/day discharge is now a 63,000gal/day discharge? In the Summer months, a steady stream of Moore Septic tanker trucks line up and pump out the tanks. I see the word "upgrade" used throughout the article. It sounds good, but it seems that it is just a newer version of the same old thing with the bay continuing to be the recipient of primary treated sewerage with no secondary treatment. It seems that secondary treatment would have been a true upgrade. At the rate sewerage is generated particularly during the Summer months, primary treatment is also inadequate as well given the limited settling time in the septic tanks due to volume. I reside within the boundaries of the Village Corporation aka Bayside but have my own private residential septic system. It is a new system that cost me over 6000 dollars. I  pay a separate property tax to the Village Corporation as well as my property taxes to the Town of Northport. I receive no benefit for this additional tax to Bayside other than trash pickup which is an additional charge. Folks rent their cottages for big rents during Summer months and renters pack the cottages with their family members. Many cottages have converted to year round use. All contribute to additional stress to the system. Some cottages have been sold for well over a half million dollars. It is interesting that given the wealth played out within the boundaries of the actual "Village", this wealth was not applied to a more environmentally compatible system that included secondary treatment to reduce overall pathogens discharged into the waters of Penobscot Bay.

If you wish to comment, please login.