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Release Date: 08/19/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced a total of $1.1 million in grants awarded to the State of Maine to protect and improve the quality of Maine's water resources.

The money awarded to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection through the Clean Water Act will targeted reductions in non-point sources of pollution resulting from land development, erosion and agriculture. Significant funding will go to projects in Cumberland, Kennebec and Aroostook counties.

"Although the State of Maine is blessed with much of America's finest and most pristine wilderness, too many of its lakes and rivers are polluted below acceptable standards," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "The grants announced today will go far in helping state and local officials in their efforts to clean these waterways."

"We've made great progress in cleaning up the point sources of pollution, but we have a long way to go in addressing the sources of polluted runoff around the state," said Martha Kirkpatrick, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. "These projects were selected because they show promise for measurably improving water quality over the next five years."

The $1.1 million included the following grants:

    • Cobbossee Lake ($220,00)): This 5,000-acre bass fishing lake is an auxiliary drinking water supply for the capital city of Augusta. As a result of runoff from agriculture and residential areas, an abundance of algae has lowered water quality below standards. This grant will help pay for more effective erosion control in the region and manure management at dairy farms.
    • Sheepscot River ($254,000): This river east of Augusta is one of the few rivers in Maine with a remaining native Atlantic salmon population. Roadside erosion and runoff from farms are degrading the river. This project will focus on installing adequate roadside runoff practices near the river.
    • Meduxnekeag River ($175,000): This river in Aroostook County provides a valuable fishery, but a segment of the river fails to meet water quality standard due to high nutrient levels. This project will provide assistance to reduce nutrient levels in runoff through the establishment of conservation measures, such as buffer strips and livestock fencing.
    • Biological indicators ($20,000): This grant will fund development of algae indicators to detect biological problems in the water. Three study sites will be chosen.
    • Frost Gully Watershed Retrofit Project ($68,000): This is the largest of three gullies draining downtown Freeport. Stormwater polluted by intensive village development is causing serious water quality problems in the brook, which eventual flows into the Harraseeket River, a valuable clam resource.
    • Tannery Brook ($25,000): Although the lower portion of this stream is widely used for its healthy brook trout fishery, the upper and middle reaches are suffering from pollution caused mainly by stormwater outfall pipes. This grant will help pay to define the problem.
    • Non-Point Education for Municipal Officials ($75,000): This educational program, called NEMO, was developed by the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension Service to educate local land use officials about the relationship of land use to water quality. NEMO will be piloted in the towns of Gorham and Freeport. Non-point source pollution from stormwater has been identified as the most significant cause of water pollution in the Casco Bay's Watershed.
    • Stream Team Pilot ($51,000): The Maine DEP will provide information, training and support for the development of locally-based "stream team" groups, who will promote such activities as monitoring and cleaning the river.