New England News Releases

USACE and Muddy River FRM partners host ribbon-cutting event to mark Phase 2 completion
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District announced today that a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Nov. 29, 2023, to mark the completion of Phase 2 of the Muddy River Flood Risk...
Winhall Brook Camping Area to remain closed during 2024 recreation season due to major rehab work
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District announced today that the Winhall Brook Camping Area located within the reservoir lands at Ball Mountain Lake in Jamaica, Vermont, will not be...
Army Corps of Engineers waives day use fees at recreation areas in observance of Veterans Day
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will waive day use fees at its more than 2,850 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide in observance of Veterans Day, November 11.The waiver...
Local bird watchers descended upon West Hill Dam armed with pen, paper and a few binoculars to participate in West Hill Dam’s annual Backyard Bird Count.
Construction of the System Management Engineering Facility (SMEF), the 40,000 square foot, 2-story addition, is well underway and progressing rapidly.
For vessels wanting to enter Plymouth waters, dredging to remove shoals from the Plymouth Harbor federal navigation project in Massachusetts is currently underway and on schedule.

News From Around the Corps

Volunteers bridge generations through conservation during National Public Lands Day
On a crisp autumn day, volunteers gathered at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District sites to honor National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Spearheading this collaborative endeavor for our public...
LRD Commanding General visits Meldahl Locks & Dam
Brigadier General Mark Quander, Commanding General of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division visited the Meldahl Locks and Dam to observe the work of the Light Capacity Fleet as it conducts...
Peaks and valleys: Northwestern Division leverages regional project sharing to complete the mission
Comprised of nearly 37,000 employees, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with engineering solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges. Across the enterprise, many divisions and districts...

Feature Stories

New England District completes Bucks Harbor waterline

Published Nov. 3, 2023

The waterline project at the Bucks Harbor Former Air Force Tracking Station (AFRTS) in Machiasport, Maine is complete and bringing clean drinking water to the residents living along Howard Mountain thanks to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District the Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  Contaminants detected in the water made it necessary to construct the waterline. The project was completed under the New England District’s Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS)program.

“The Bucks Harbor site was used between 1954 and 1984 as an AFRTS for protection against hostile aircraft,” said Project Manager Marie Wojtas.  “While the AFRTS was in operation, toxic solvents were reportedly used, including trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE) for maintenance and cleaning operations.”

Part of the property is now owned by the state of Maine Department of Corrections and used for a minimum-security prison known as the Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF).  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently owns the remainder of the property.

Investigations performed in 1995 by the New England District determined those solvents were disposed of on the ground surface at various locations and consequently found in the groundwater.

“As a result of those investigations, point of entry treatment systems (POET) were installed in the homes at residential locations where groundwater was contaminated,” said Wojtas. “The residential POET systems are essentially filters which use vessels filled with granular activated carbon (GAC) to remove organic contaminants from water.”

Between 1995 and 2017, USACE completed the investigation phase of the project.  The investigation included removing the underground and above ground storage tanks, soil excavation, installing monitoring wells, sampling monitoring wells and residential wells, installing POET systems for contaminated water supplies, and completing project reports such as the site inspection, the remedial investigation, proposed plan, and decision document.

In May 2017 a project decision document identified the need to provide an alternate water supply to impacted residents.

“The alternate water supply was to include the extension of the waterline from the public water system well which is served by the DCF,” said Wojtas.

The District awarded a $170,000 contract to Colby Company LLC for the design and construction of a water supply distribution system extension and treatment system upgrade.  CCI Energy and Construction Services received a $1.5 million design and build contract award to upgrade the DCF water supply and to install the waterline extension – to include 5,400 feet of excavation from the DCF to five existing residences, plus the capacity of up to 10 residences, that have contaminated water.

“The project included upgrades to the existing public water supply including upgrades to the mechanical and electrical infrastructure, general building repairs, addition of a GAC filtration system, upgrade of existing chlorination system, and modification of the well to a non-confined space condition,” said Wojtas.

The design documents for the project were completed in January 2018, but the project hit a roadblock when DCF suddenly closed in February 2018 and the contract was terminated. The Maine Department of Corrections renovated and re-opened the facility and later the District contracted WSP USA Environment and Infrastructure to review the 2018 design documents and update them.  The contract also included administrative support and advice during construction.

A $3 million construction contract was awarded to CCI Facility Contractors in 2021 to complete construction of the waterline extension and treatment system upgrades for the DCF public water supply and the work was completed in September 2023. The District and MDOC have a memorandum of agreement regarding the operation and maintenance of agreement regarding the operation and maintenance of the treatment system and the waterline extension. 

“Groundwater monitoring, which began in 1995, will continue with samples being collected annually,” said Wojtas.

DERP/FUDS is a Congressionally directed program (PL 98-212) that provides for an expanded effort in environmental restoration. It emphasizes the identification, investigation and cleanup of hazardous and toxic waste; unexploded ordnance; and unsafe buildings, structures and debris at current and former military facilities. One hundred and eighty-one formerly used defense sites have been identified in Maine. Site and project eligibility investigations at 181 sites are now complete, including 93 where no work was found to be necessary.

The DCF and Ivar McLeod, project manager for the Maine DEP, contributed to the successful creation completion of the project. In addition to Wojtas, other New England District team members who worked on the project include Kathy Miller, project chemist, Dan Folan, project geologist, Grace Greenberg, project risk assessor; Lee Thibodeau, Design Civil engineering section chief; Gary Morin and Heather Sullivan, FUDS program managers; Susanne Grant Devens Resident Office (DRO) Chief, Travis Dancewick and Bill Phelan DRO project engineers.


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