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Resiliency & Sustainability

Background: 
Saco's Water Resource Recovery Facility provides sewer services to more than 11,500 residents and 375 businesses, some of which are in the Federal Foreign Trade Zone and York County's only Opportunity Zone. Our number of customers is anticipated to increase with installation of the Route One Sewer in 2019 and its extension in 2021. 

Our location is within two feet of the tidally influenced Saco River. We have already experienced the harmful effects of flooding, sea level rise, and weather events. Based on scientific research, these effects are only anticipated to escalate with time. See below video for a 2019 weather event that caused significant flooding: 



With firsthand knowledge of these and other ongoing impacts, the WRRD began studies of the facility, not only to understand what was needed for a resilient future, but to quantify the costs of climate concerns. This work was undertaken to help the WRRD understand the most sustainable options for its long-term health. 

The Maine Climate Council's Cost of Doing Nothing Analysis, adopted in the Maine Won't Wait Climate Action Plan, has estimated the potential cost of doing nothing at Saco's facility as high as $43 million+. 

Saco WRRD has been part of an ongoing, grant-funded study in partnership with NOAA, the New England Environmental Finance Center at the University of Southern Maine, and Maine Water, to further refine and quantify the costs of flooding, sea level rise, and extreme weather events to the community. 

Resiliency Ad-hoc Committee: 
The Mayor-appointed, Council-approved Resiliency Ad-hoc Committee was formed to work in partnership with the U.S. EPA on completing an analysis of three resiliency upgrade alternatives. This process used the EPA's Augmented Alternative Analysis framework, which incorporated the Committee's community priorities and Council goals to articulate objectives, metrics, and criteria by which to review site options. A series of meetings were held to support this work. Learn more by visiting the Resiliency Ad-hoc Committee's webpage. This work will be highlighted in an EPA case study, publication pending. 

Long Term Facility Plan: 
Because of flooding impacts, and considering results of the WRRD's 2019 Climate Adaptation Plan, the Saco WRRD, with its consulting engineer team, has recently completed its Long Term Facility Plan, which considers community needs from now to 2050 onward. Read the Executive Summary at this link: Executive Summary