BIDDEFORD, Maine–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Maine Water Company celebrated the commissioning of its new $60 million Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center, which began operations in June, providing up to 12 million gallons of high-quality drinking water per day to Saco Bay communities.
Governor Janet Mills attended the celebration noting, “Today we mark another milestone in Maines’ legacy of clean air and clean water – a new water treatment center for the towns of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Pine Point. It is more resilient to the impacts of climate change and will contribute to our state’s carbon neutral goal by generating 100% of its electricity needs from a solar panel. It will reduce costs for taxpayers and create 115 construction jobs through 2022. It also preserves over 250 acres of land for public access. My administration is proud to support projects like these that preserve Maine’s clean air and clean water.
Governor Mills, Mayor William Doyle of Saco, Mayor Alan Casavant of Biddeford, Scarborough Chief Executive Thomas Hall, and many other elected officials and community leaders were able to speak with a number of professionals passionate about the Maine Water who live and work in the Biddeford Saco community.
The center replaces the original Biddeford Water Treatment Plant, first built in 1884 when Chester Arthur was President, and before Biddeford had access to electricity. It was located entirely within the 100-year floodplain of the Saco River, which made it vulnerable to service interruptions due to catastrophic flooding. The original plant served the community for 138 years, and the Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center is designed to provide another century of reliable service.
“Through our 2019 affiliation with the SJW Group, Maine Water has been able to access the capital funds needed to create this state-of-the-art center, which will provide our communities with reliable, high-quality water service for years to come. generations,” Maine said. Water President Mark Vannoy. “This project has taken years to come together and our combination of local expertise with national size and strength combine to benefit the clients and communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Pine Point.”
“As we look across this continent and the world today, we see the impact of climate change on the availability of clean drinking water. Such an environmental tragedy should be a wake-up call for those of us who live along the Saco River. It should remind us that our water source is precious,” said Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant. “Today, Maine Water is working with the Saco River Corridor Commission to ensure that we, and future generations, have access to clean water. For millions of people in the world today, drinking water is not guaranteed. Let’s celebrate this continued investment and our collective commitment to our cities, present and future, fostering a better place to live and work.
Maine Water is committed to preserving the environment while providing high quality drinking water to residents of Maine. The resource center uses new technologies and processing systems to increase efficiency with lower costs and fewer resources required, compared to the old factory.
Additionally, Maine Water has protected 250 acres of land as open space in perpetuity with future public access plans. The company landscaped the property with 100% native plants, including a 10,000 square foot pollinator garden, and restored wetlands and revegetated previously impermeable land. 100% of electricity needs will be generated by an on-site solar panel in early 2023.
Maine Water’s commitment to sustainability from design to operation has been recognized by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure who awarded the project an Envision Silver Award, the first for a project of its type in New England. .
“The new Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center is a key infrastructure asset for the Biddeford-Saco community,” said Melissa Peneycad, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. “Maine Water and its project partners are to be commended for their conscious design efforts to meet short- and long-term community needs, while rehabilitating the environmental functions and reliance of the facility as a primary drinking water installation for the Biddeford-Saco region. This Envision Silver award is a testament to Maine Water’s leadership and commitment to sustainability.
Always mindful of the impact on customers, Maine Water has developed a unique approach to gradually increasing rates to cover the investment, rather than the traditional impact of a gradual increase. The Maine Public Utilities Commission supported this approach and therefore a gallon of fresh, clean drinking water from the new center is still about a penny per gallon.
“The Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center will help us fulfill our mission to thousands of Maine residents by providing high quality water and exceptional service while protecting the environment and improving our communities,” said Eric Thornburg, Chairman, President and CEO of SJW Group.
The Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center began operations in June 2022 and serves approximately 40,000 people in Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Pine Point. It is the second largest public water system in Maine.
About Maine Water
The Maine Water Company is a water utility that owns 12 public water systems engaged in the collection, treatment, and distribution of potable water for homes, businesses, and fire protection service. The Maine Water Company serves approximately 85,000 people in 21 Maine communities. For more information, visit MaineWater.com.
Maine Water is a subsidiary of SJW Group (NYSE: SJW), which is among the largest water and wastewater utilities in the United States, providing high-quality water service to nearly 1.5 million people in California, Connecticut, Maine and Texas.
About SJW Group
SJW Group is one of the largest investor-owned water and wastewater utilities in the United States, providing vital, high-quality water service to approximately 1.5 million people. Locally owned and operated water utilities by SJW Group – San Jose Water Company in California, The Connecticut Water Company in Connecticut, The Maine Water Company in Maine and SJWTX, Inc. (dba Canyon Lake Water Service Company) in Texas – have the financial strength, operational expertise and technological innovation to protect the environment, provide exceptional service to customers and provide opportunity for employees. SJW Group remains focused on investing in its operations, remains actively engaged in its local communities, and delivers continued sustainable value to its shareholders. For more information about the SJW Group, please visit www.sjwgroup.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Some of these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “believes”, “expects”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “seek”, “approximately”, “has intention”, “plans”, “estimates”, “projects”, “strategy” or “anticipates”, or the negative of these words or any other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict.
These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including, but not limited to, the following factors: (1) the effect of government policies and regulations relating to water, utilities, environmental and other services, including actions regarding tariffs, authorized returns on equity, authorized capital structures, capital expenditures and other decisions; (2) changes in demand for water and other services; (3) the impact of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic on our business operations and financial results; (4) unforeseen weather conditions and changes in seasonality, including those affecting water supply and customer usage; (5) climate change and its effects; (6) unforeseen costs, charges or expenses; (7) our ability to successfully evaluate investments in new businesses and growth initiatives; (8) contamination of our water supplies and damage to or failure of our water equipment and infrastructure; (9) the risk of work stoppages, strikes and other work-related actions; (10) catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, acts of terrorism, physical attacks, cyber attacks, epidemics or similar events ; (11) changes in general economic, political, business and financial conditions; (12) the ability to obtain financing on favorable terms, which may be affected by various factors, including credit ratings, changes in interest rates, compliance with regulatory requirements, compliance with the terms and conditions of our outstanding debt, and general market and economic conditions; and (13) legislative and general market and economic developments. Risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause SJW Group’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
One-quarter results are not indicative of full-year results due to seasonality and other factors. Other factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially are described in SJW Group’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance and speak only as of the date they are made. SJW Group undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.