Aerial view of the Warren, Maine lagoon system. Photo courtesy of Woodard and Curran.

Lagoon Systems In Maine 

Systems In Maine

An Informational Resource for
Operators of Lagoon Systems

Mars Hill Wastewater Lagoon System - Mars Hill  Maine. Photo Courtesy of Wright-Pierce Engineers.
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Lagoon Day 2005
Presents Two for the Price of One

Mars Hill & Mapleton, Maine
June 23rd, 2005


Gorgeous Aroostook County and the Mars Hill Utility District Lagoon Facility provided the setting for the 9th Annual Lagoon Day on June 23rd. A warm June sun and a slight breeze to keep the pesky black flies down made for a fabulous all day outdoor training session. This annual training tradition is organized by Maine lagoon operators with assistance from the Maine Rural Water Association to provide a unique daylong training session in the operations of wastewater lagoons in Maine.

Mars Hill Office &
Operations Building

A first since the training event began in 1996 was the inclusion of a second lagoon facility tour in the afternoon nearby in the town of Mapleton. Mapleton is the newest wastewater snowmaking facility to go online in the state.



Mars Hill Utility Superintendent Frank Kearny

Mars Hill Town Manager Raymond W. Mersereau.

Mars Hill facility’s original design engineer Steve Hallowell of Wright Pierce.

Mars Hill Utility Superintendent Frank Kearny

Mars Hill Town Manager
Raymond W. Mersereau.

Steve Hallowell
of Wright Pierce.

Starting the all day event off under the tent was Mars Hill Utility Superintendent Frank Kearny who introduced Mars Hill Town Manager Raymond W. Mersereau. Meresereau provided some history about the utility district including the fact that he became the temporary operator years back when no one was available.

Rear view of the Operations Building

Kearny next introduced the Mars Hill facility’s original design engineer Steve Hallowell of Wright Pierce. Steve followed with some background on the beginnings of the lagoon design and construction. Fielding questions from lagoon operators Hallowell was asked about unique features about the system. He responded that the 32 million gallon storage lagoon has a sloped bottom and that is not common in lagoon design. Hallowell told the group that this came about due to the amount of ledge that would have had to be removed to give the lagoon a flat bottom. This worked out to the facility’s advantage because it is sloped towards the lagoons discharge.

Fine bubble diffuser with a porous type media.Unit is filled with concrete for ballast and resides on pond floor

EDI Reef II Units

Discussion followed about sludge treatment options for lagoons with reed beds being in the forefront of the talk. The Caribou Utility District was identified as being the early pioneers of reed bed technology in Maine. CUD Manager Al Hitchcock and operator Paul Rossignol spoke of their experiences and noted former District Manager Emery Knowlton’s involvement of the reed bed project for Caribou. Hitchcock said that the reed beds at the CUD have been in place for 18 years and currently maintain a level of 15-inches of sludge in them. Mars Hill Superintendent spoke of the adjacent land that was recently licensed for land application of treated biosolids once it becomes necessary to dewater their lagoons.

Next up on the training session was the facility tour. The staff of the Mars Hill Facility broke

Mars Hill Grit Removal Building

 the group of operators and Maine DEP personnel into 3 teams. A walk around the lagoons ensued followed by the operations building and the grit / screening building. To make the tours interesting the Mars Hill staff designed a safety contest with a prize of a crisp $50.00 bill (generously provided by Mars Hill UD) going to the person finding all the rigged safety deficiencies along the tours.

Next on the agenda was a bus trip stopping off at the Mars Hill Snowmobile Club for a top-notch lunch.

Followed by the excellent meal was a brief speech by the Maine Rural Water Associations Executive Director Steve Levy. Levy was making his annual Aroostook County swing trip.

As it has been since the beginning of Lagoon Days the infamous Ruksznis Raffle followed lunch highlighted by Guiford-Sangerville Superintendent Frank Rukzinis humorous narrative of the numerous door prizes. Wright-Pierce, Olver Associates, and Ruksinis Maple Syrup donated numerous gifts. L.L. Bean Gift certificates also happened to find their way into the gift pile.

Boarding the bus to head to Mapleton provided more down east humor from the Guilford-Sangerville Superintendent. Upon arriving at the Mapleton spray irrigation and snow making facility the group of operators were met by Mapleton Operator Gil St. Pierre and facility design engineer Bill Olver of Olver Associates. Olver welcomed the group and opened his presentation with some background information about the facility. Continuing with his presentation Olver spoke on the design data and specifications of the treatment plant and its processes. Operator Gil St Pierre then presented his portion of the facility overview with his experiences during the first two years of the facility’s operation. St. Pierre said the weather was a major operations tool on when and how snow would be made. St. Pierre also indicated that the weather also would dictate the costs of making snow especially if the facility’s high output air compressor was used to assist the snow making process.

Bill Olver of Olver Associates
  & Mapleton Operator Gil St. Pierre

After a tour of the 5 mg facultative and 15 million gallon storage lagoon the group moved to the summer spray field to view its operation. Then it was on to the snowmaking field where the 10 Ratnik snow guns remained idle until the coming winter. St. Pierre said that there was still snow on the ground last week. Next it was onto the operations building where a cooler of cold sodas broke the day’s heat and a view of the snowmaking control panel. It was then out into the high output compressor room, associated air dryer and the facility piping gallery on the lower level.


Mapleton Operator Gil St. Pierre
speaks about the Ratnik equipment
 and his snow making experience with it.

St Pierre capped the day off by saying how pleased he was with the working relationship of Ratnik Industries Inc. and the facility’s design engineers Olver Associates of Winterport, Maine during the facility’s design and construction. Ratnik a leading manufacturer and supplier of snowmaking and pumping systems worldwide provided a 2-year warranty on the snowmaking equipment for Mapleton.

Continuing with Maine’s innovative lagoon training operators are looking forward to the 10th Lagoon Day in 2006.


Training Registration, Coffee,
Doughnuts and Conversation.

Some of the 10 Ratnik snow
making guns at the Mapleton facility.

Mars Hill Utility District employee
Jay Peavey leads off the lunch line

Mapleton piping gallery.

Lunchtime at the
Mars Hill Snowmobile Club

Air Dryer for the Air Compressor
used in the snowmaking process

Guiford-Sangerville Superintendent
Frank Rukzinis and Waldoboro Utility's
Superintendent John Fancy

MEDEP Inspector Tanya Hovell
following along Bill Olver's presentation.

Ruksznis Raffle tickets pulled
by Bert the Bus Driver

County clowns Matt Palmer of Washburn and
Gil St. Pierre fight over who is going
to drive the gator.

Bill Olver of Olver Associates making
his presentation on the Mapleton Facility

MEDEP Inspector Jim Sohns
speaking with operators.

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