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USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel is Joined by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in Announcing Earth Day Funds to Help Preserve Maine Clam Flats

At an Earth Day celebration in Thomaston, Maine on April 23, members of the community gathered to hear an announcement that will have a major benefit to the surrounding environment and shellfish industry, helping to preserve 1,200 acres of clam flats in the area.

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel was joined by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree to announce that the Town of Thomaston will receive Federal funds to make numerous improvements to its wastewater infrastructure. The Town will also contribute funds to make the project possible. The announcement brings the total investment Rural Development has provided to the Town of Thomaston to a total of over $9 million.

Signing a new sewer pipe are (L to R)- Thomaston Wastewater Pollution Control  Facility Superintendent John Fancy; Congresswoman Chellie Pingree; USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel; and Thomaston Town Manager Val Blastow

Signing a new sewer pipe are (L to R)- Thomaston Wastewater Pollution Control Facility Superintendent John Fancy; Congresswoman Chellie Pingree; USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel; and Thomaston Town Manager Val Blastow

State Director Manuel said, “I am so pleased to announce this significant funding to the Town of Thomaston to makes essential upgrades to its wastewater system. These funds will protect the areas vital shellfish industry and keep the St. George and Mill Rivers pristine for this vibrant rural Maine community.”

Pingree said the grant is an investment in the local economy. “The Maine economy depends on a clean environment.  Two of our most important industries are fishing and tourism and without clean air and clean water those industries would disappear,” she said.

The funds will result in upgrades to the Town’s primary sewer lines which were constructed between 1891 and 1925. The aging lines serve several streets in Thomaston and discharge directly into the St. George and Mill Rivers. Replacement of the century-old lines is crucial and will preserve the area’s clamming flats by protecting them from run-off from sewer overflows. In addition, the upgrades will improve the water quality of the St. George and Mill Rivers and protect the viability of one of the top shellfish producing areas in Maine. These improvements are strongly supported by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

To find out how USDA water programs can assist your community, click here.

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