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

Lagoon Systems In Maine 

Systems In Maine

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Mars Hill Wastewater Lagoon System - Mars Hill  Maine. Photo Courtesy of Wright-Pierce Engineers.
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The 6th Annual Day at the Lagoon was held at the recently upgraded Veazie Sewer District’s wastewater treatment facility.

The Veazie Sewer District was the setting for the day’s theme ”Introducing Complete-Mix to an Existing Lagoon System”. The early morning, cloudy weather gave way to sunny skies and warmer temperatures for the well-attended lagoon operations seminar. Operators got a preview peek of the only complete mix lagoon system in the state of Maine – and one of only several in New England.

John Fancy and Gary Brooks reviewing the day's agenda.The day began with registration followed by coffee, muffins and donuts. Attendees, 44 of them from as far away as Mars Hill, Jackman, and Thomaston, were divided into 2 groups. VSD Assistant Operator Dana McLaughlin provided tours of the inside of the facility while VSD Superintendent Gary Brooks lead the tour of the lagoons outside.
The lagoon tour began with the newly constructed headworks building. Once inside a newly installed JWC Muffin Monster combined with an inclined Auger Monster set in the influent channel to grind and remove incoming products. Around the corner in another room was the heart of the headworks heating system and a new Sigma automatic sampler. The headworks’ building is warmed by a radiant heating system. We then moved outside to the head of the newly lined Lagoon #1. Under the retrofit this lagoon had been divided into 3 cells ( 814,000 gals. each. ) via the use of curtains and has an operating depth of 11 feet. The first cell is designed for complete mixing using a floating lateral aeration system with EDI Flexair Magnum EPDM membrane tubes.

We then moved to the other end of the lagoons to the newly constructed blowerNew Blowers and VFD's building where 4 new 25 horsepower positive displacement blowers are driven by Allen Bradley VFDs.  Next we moved to Lagoon #3, the final treatment cell. This lagoon was retrofitted with a modular, insulated floating cover, which was manufactured by the Lemna Corporation to prohibit algae growth. The cover is insulated with extruded polystyrene covered by 40 mil HDPE. It is constructed to be used with 2 floating aerators via the use of removable panels. Dissolved oxygen levels are continuously monitored in all three lagoons by the use of Danfoss D.O. probes.

VSD Assistant Operator, Dana McLaughlin headed the tour of the interior facility and fielded  questions about process control. Next the group preceded  into the office area to view the various SCADA screens. Mike Eber of Maine Electric led the discussion and illustrated the SCADA system. There were also questions for Dottie, the VSD secretary, about billing procedures.

Bob LarsenNext after the facility tours was Robert Larsen P.E. the design engineer for the Veazie upgrade. After passing out a well-prepared specification / photo booklet of the plant retrofit, Bob noted that a key performance component will be the tracking of BOD reduction in the first lagoon. Bob spoke about the design and operations of the Veazie lagoon system. He also noted that there were not many systems around like this one in cold weather climates.
He stressed the importance knowing the influent BOD in designing and operating lagoon systems. The influent BOD load of the wastewater should be determined using sewered population and per capita estimates rather than relying completely on influent grab samples. Gary and Bob then fielded a question and answer period about the system.

Next up was a fantastic lunch served outdoors under the sun and shade.

A brief business meeting kicked off the afternoon session. Input was solicited from operators for locations for next year’s lagoon Day. The customary “Ruksznis Raffle” was next. Numerous donated prizes from CES, JWC, EER and others were drawn off for those in attendance. 

Left to right: John Fancy, Karen Asselin-SRF Program Officer, Steve Levy-MRWA, Ron Lambert of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program

Financing was next on the agenda. Karen Asselin, SRF Program Officer, gave a general overview of the State Revolving Loan Fund. The SRF program is jointly administered by the DEP and MMBB. The maximum term for the loan program is 20 years and the interest rate is fixed at 2% below the highest rated tax-exempt bonds ( net of all fees ) Karen noted that interest rates on loans for communities and districts generally run between 2 to 3 %. Refinancing has several key benefits including reducing term, savings over the original life of the loan and combining with funding to do a new project. Limitations to refinancing under the SRF program are:

  • Only if initial debt was incurred after March 7, 1985

  • Term limited to 20 years or life of asset

  • Special limitations for loans that were made to provide match for federal grant funds

Karen said she is available to help fill out the loan application form which can be downloaded from the Maine Bond Bank’s website at Some things to make note of is that local authorization is required and that the underlying project must be eligible. It is recommended that people check their eligibility with the DEP before beginning the loan process.

Next speaker on refinancing was Steve Levy of the Maine Rural Water Association. Steve spoke about the various options and resources for funding and stated that MRWA was a very good place to start.

Ron Lambert of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program ( formerly Farmers Home ) was next. Ron stated it was RD’s objective to improve, develop and finance essential facilities in rural areas.

John Fancy closed out the financial portion of the training session by illustrating two municipal cases in which refinancing can save municipalities large amounts of money and ease payment installments. John explained how refinancing a portion of the long-term debt would save one facility $18,000 on their annual payment. More importantly the savings in interest will be $650,400 over the 20-year life of the bond.

The sixth annual “A Day at the Lagoon” was another success. There was a broad range of organizations represented at the seminar including Jim Sohns and Clarissa Trasko from the Maine DEP, Robert Larsen of Environmental Engineering & Remediation, Inc., Rob Lockhart, Janet Abrahamson, Steve Levy, and Mike MacDonald of the Maine Rural Water Association, Larry Frost and Jeff McBurnie of Soil Preperation and Jerry Kamke from Sevee- Mahar. “A Day at the Lagoon” is presented by lagoon operators in Maine, with help from the Maine Rural Water Association and the State of Maine. Five training contact hours are awarded for those who attend the session.

Any lagoon facility that would like to host the “A Day at the Lagoon” for 2003 should contact Gary Brooks via phone at (207) 942-1536 or via email at

Photos of the Day
You may click on the images for a larger size.

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