FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Who owns Ogunquit Sewer District (OSD)?
A. OSD is not owned by anyone. We are a quasi municipal corporation formed in 1963, which operates under a charter and is managed by a Board of three Trustees, who are elected to the Board by the registered voters of Ogunquit.
Q. Is the OSD part of the Town of Ogunquit or Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells Water District (KKWWD)?
A. There are many projects that commence throughout the year where we may be working side by side, sharing equipment or lending a hand. However, we have our own elected Board of Trustees, charter set forth by the Maine Legislature, and rate payment structure. So the answer is ultimately no, we are independent!
Q. Why is my sewer bill higher than my water bill?
A. Treating sewer water is typically 2-3 times more expensive and more involved than treating drinking water. It takes a great amount of effort by means of mechanical, physical, and some chemical methods. If you notice a higher than normal water bill, check your toilets and faucets for leaks!
Q. Can a leaking toilet or faucet affect my sewer bill?
A. Yes it can! Even something as simple as a dripping faucet or running toilet can cause a significant increase in your sewer bill.
Q. What can we flush down our toilets and drains?
A. It might be more helpful to say what NOT to flush: disposable diapers, tampons and tampon applicators, sanitary napkins, mini/maxi pads, facial tissue, dental floss, cotton balls and swabs, cleaning wipes of any kind, bandages and bandage wrappings, automotive fluids, paints, solvents, sealants, thinners, poisons and hazardous waste, pet poop, unused medicine/prescriptions, fats, oils, greases. NONE of these things should be flushed or poured down your drains.
Q. Why is there a terrible sewer smell in my house?
A. We regularly maintain the collection system by using high pressure water from our Jet/Vacuum truck. At times, the high volume of pressure will pull water from the plumbing traps located on homeowners’ fixtures, which can result in a sewer smell emanating from your plumbing. If this happens, just run some water to fill the traps.
Q. What do I do if there is a problem with the sewer line from my house to the street?
A. OSD does not own or maintain private sewer lines. You will need to contact a licensed plumber to help you correct the problem.
Q. What would cause a blockage in my sewer?
A. It is likely backing up due to a blockage in the lateral line leaving your home or in the District’s main line. Generally there are three common causes of blockages:
1. Solid Flushes: The most common cause of sewage backup is a blockage of the lateral service pipe between the home and OSD's sewer main. This is usually caused by solid objects, accidentally flushed down a household drain.
2. Structural Defects: Structural defects happen due to system deterioration in both pipes and manholes. These defects include problems with sewer service lines such as pipe collapse, sags in the line, cracks, holes, protruding laterals, misaligned pipe, and offset joints.
3. Root Infiltration: Tree roots are a major cause of backups. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and travel a long way, causing blockages along the way. Tree roots can also create structural defects when they crack and break pipes as they grow.
Q. How do I get rid my cooking grease?
A. Place the grease in a disposable container and throw it away. Cooking grease hardens inside your plumbing and can cause you and the collection system major issues. Think of it as sewer cholesterol!
Q. What is influent and effluent?
A. Influent refers to the dirty water entering a waste water treatment facility, while effluent refers to the treated water that is released at the end of the process – in our case, the effluent water is discharged 2,200 feet off of Ogunquit Beach at the Moody Beach end.
Q. Is effluent safe?
A. The effluent exceeds the requirements prescribed by the Maine Pollution Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES).
Q. What is a private water meter?
A. We offer residents and businesses the option to purchase an additional meter (must measure in cubic feet) to measure water usage that does not go into the sewer system. We subtract that usage off your bill at the end of the year. Examples include the water you’d use for pools, washing cars, watering lawns and gardens.
If you’d like to purchase a private water meter, simply call our office and ask. If you already have a private meter, remember to check that it’s working periodically (credit is only given for working meters) and do not forget to send in your readings by NOVEMBER 30TH each year!
Q. What is a cubic foot of water?
A. One foot high, by one foot long, by one foot wide. This is equal to 7.48 gallons of water.
Q. How often will I receive a sewer bill and what is it based on?
A. We mail sewer bills once a year, towards the end of February. Sewer bills are based on prior year’s water consumption (or may be estimated if actual water reading were not turned into KKWWD).
Q. Who maintains the sewer lines?
A. OSD maintains all sewer mains, which are located in the street or public utilities easements. Residents and business owners own the lateral connections to the mains. Laterals typically run on the owners property and on streets or public areas to reach the main. Property owners maintain their sewer lateral line, including the connection to the public sewer main. Locating the lateral is also a property owner’s responsibility, although OSD will attempt to assist by providing recorded information when available.
Q. Does OSD take care of storm water drainage?
A. The State of Maine is responsible for storm water drainage on Route 1 & Shore Rd, and the Town of Ogunquit is responsible for the other streets.
Q. How do I report a problem?
A. To report a problem between the hours of 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday - Friday, call the OSD office at 207-646-2028 or Plant at 207-646-3271. After 3:00 pm or if it is during the weekend or a holiday, call our 24 hr emergency on-call line at 207-641-5508.
Q. Why is OSD looking to purchase a piece of property in Ogunquit?
A. We are looking to purchase a piece of property that we will set aside in the event that we have to relocate the treatment plant in 20-30 years due to sea level rise or climate change.
Q. Why not just move the treatment plant now?
A. The cost to relocate the treatment plant has been estimated at 30 million dollars. To relocate now would cause sewer rates to increase immediately by 300% across the board.
Q. Are there other District infrastructure that are at risk?
A. Pumping station #4 in Perkins Cove is 3 feet lower than our treatment facility and is vulnerable to storm surges. Adaptation measures will need to be accomplished in the next few years.
The lighthouse pumping station #3, the Norseman station #6 & station 12 by the treatment plant have all been identified as low lying stations and will need to be addressed prior to the plant relocation.
Q. Have you considered regionalizing with Wells Sanitary District?
A. Yes this idea was considered. Although this solution appeared to save the District money, we would be dependent on Wells Sanitary to set the rates for treating and disposing of Ogunquit’s waste water. The District would need to install a pump systems and forced mains to redirect our flows to the Wells WWTF. We would also be responsible for all associated costs to upgrade the Wells facility to be able to handle our flows. We would also need to continue maintaining our collection system ie: gravity mains, manholes, forced mains and 13 pump stations. When compared to relocating and building a new plant, there was a savings only for the first twenty years. After that, the cost to Ogunquit’s sewer rate payers would be more expensive than running our own WWTF. In addition, there is only a 2 foot elevation difference between the Wells and Ogunquit facilities. Wells WWTF will have similar challenges with sea level rise and may be faced with relocation in the future as well.
Q. Are you looking to increase your adjoining municipality customer base in order to raise money for the relocation?
A. No, we added a 10% surcharge to sewer bills starting in 2018, and will slowly increase this over time to set aside monies for potential relocation. Revenue collected from the surcharge is deposited into a separate bank account.