Good news for those whose livelihood and/or recreational pursuits involve Casco Bay. As noted in prior posts (6/17/11, 6/21/11, 5/8/12), for more than 4 decades Portland’s sanitary and stormwater sewer system was periodically overwhelmed by a storm event or snow melt, resulting in discharges of untreated wastewater that would close beaches and shellfish harvesting areas, and just plain old stink. Although legally obligated to address the situation under a 1993 consent decree that CLF was instrumental in obtaining, the City’s progress in doing so was sporadic until the past few years.
For this reason alone, it is worth celebrating the recent completion of the Baxter Boulevard storage project as noted by the Portland Press Herald. The two, million-gallon tanks, installed at a cost of $10 million, will provide critical storage during times of high volume (think the storms we had on Labor Day weekend) and literally keep at least 2 million gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater out of Casco Bay. While there is still a great deal to do to address the challenge that old infrastructure faces in light of the increasingly extreme storm events resulting from our changing climate, Portland continues to move in the right direction. CLF will continue to prod cities like Portland when necessary to clean up its act but is much happier to celebrate successes like this recent one when warranted.