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Maine Water’s New Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center Earns Envision Silver Award for Sustainable Infrastructure

First Project of Its Kind in New England to Achieve the Silver Level

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) has awarded Maine Water Company’s Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center the Envision Silver Award for sustainable infrastructure. The center treats and filters water from the Saco River in Biddeford, Maine, so that 40,000 people in the communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Pine Point have a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water that meets all state and federal drinking water standards.

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Envision provides ISI’s consistent, consensus-based framework for assessing sustainability, resiliency and equity in civil infrastructure. The framework provides a system of criteria and performance objectives to aid project designers and decision makers in identifying sustainable, resilient and equitable approaches during the planning, design and construction that will continue through the project’s operations, maintenance and end-of-life phases. Envision verification ensures that projects live up to their claims, and project awards are based on the criteria outlined in the framework.

“The new Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center is a key infrastructure asset for the Biddeford-Saco community,” said Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s managing director. “Maine Water and its project partners deserve to be commended for their conscious design efforts to respond to near- and long-term community needs while rehabilitating environmental functions and the reliance of the facility as the primary drinking water facility for the Biddeford-Saco region. This Envision Silver Award is testament to Maine Water’s leadership and commitment to sustainability.”

Mark Vannoy, Maine Water’s president, stated, “On behalf of Maine Water employees and the company, we are pleased to be the first project in New England to receive a Silver Level Award from ISI. When it became clear that our 1884 drinking water plant needed to be replaced, we were intentional about demonstrating our long-held commitment to the environment and sustainability. The Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center will be a source of high-quality drinking water for decades and generations to come and will be so responsibly. We thank our partners Hazen and Sawyer and MWH Constructors, which shared our passion and commitment to the project and its sustainability.”

The center has the capacity to produce up to 12 million gallons of treated and filtered drinking water per day, which is enough to support the economic development goals of the community and provide a robust flow of water to fire hydrants to support fire protection.

Matt Valade, Technical Design Leader for the project and Regional Water Practice Group Leader for Hazen and Sawyer, added, “Maine Water was committed to sustainable design from the outset, so the Envision framework was embraced early on. The award recognizes Maine Water for building back better and setting an example for how to do these generational projects well.”

Blair Lavoie, President of MWH Constructors and Construction Manager on the project, noted, “The Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center is a project that we believe has delivered high value to the service communities, and we are proud to be a project partner. It’s impressive that Maine Water took the extra step to verify the project with Envision to demonstrate their attention to the sustainable design and delivery of this outstanding facility.”

Several features of the Saco River Drinking Water Resource Center (SRDWRC) project were reviewed and verified by ISI, including those detailed below.

Leadership in sustainability

Demonstrated leadership in and a strong commitment to sustainability are required to manage the challenge of changing design norms to contribute to long-term conditions of sustainability. All project partners — Maine Water, Hazen and Sawyer, and MWH — embrace sustainability as a core value. They collaborated with each other, and successfully engaged the community and other stakeholders, to ensure the most sustainable outcomes for the new SRDWRC would be realized over the life of the project.

Use of renewable energy

The energy demands for the SRDWRC will be met by renewable power. In addition, a 1.1 MW photovoltaic array will be built just southwest of the facility’s site boundary to lessen the reliance on purchased energy and instead meet demands through on-site generation.

Protecting surface and groundwater sources

To counterbalance the addition of impervious surfaces within the project boundary for the new facility, the project incorporates several stormwater management and revegetation practices, including the addition of storm berm level spreaders, buffers and an underdrained soil filter. Revegetation of 4,514 square feet of an existing parking lot will also improve infiltration of the property and allow water to filter through the soil before reaching the Saco River.

Wetland restoration

A 2015 site survey of the SRDWRC revealed the site contains wetland areas. Although this project will only impact 1.88 acres of the site, Maine Water is preserving 257 acres of high-ecological-value land as part of the project. It includes a red maple swamp and the entire stream frontage along Swan Pond Brook, which is an important wild brook trout habitat. This substantial preservation area more than offsets the 1.88 acres of wetland impact.

Preparing for long-term adaptability

Flooding is the main climate-related risk to the SRDWRC, and this project is being designed and built with long-term adaptation in mind. For example, all critical equipment within the facility will be above the Design Floodplain Elevation, which is 64 feet, or will be fully submersible. The new facility is also being built outside the FEMA 100-year and 500-year flood elevations. All structural components will be watertight, preventing floodwaters from entering the building via overland flow or infiltration, and the raw water intake pipe will be placed at the lowest possible point to handle fluctuating Saco River water levels.




Envision-verified Project:

Saco River Water Treatment Plant


Biddeford, Maine

Envision Rating:



Maine Water

Project Delivery:

Construction Management-At-Risk (CMAR)

Lead Envision Firm:

Hazen and Sawyer

Project partners:

Hazen and Sawyer (Engineer of Record), Walsh Engineering (Civil, Permitting), MWH Constructors (General Contractor), Jones Associates (Environmental)

Award Date:

July 13, 2022

Project Phase:


For More Information:


About ISI

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure is a nonprofit education and research organization based in Washington, DC, that developed and manages the Envision sustainable infrastructure framework and rating system. ISI advances sustainable, resilient and equitable civil infrastructure through education, training and third-party project verification. For more information, visit

About Maine Water

The Maine Water Company is a public water utility that owns 12 public water systems engaged in the collection, treatment and distribution of drinking water for homes, businesses and fire protection service. The Maine Water Company serves approximately 85,000 people in 21 communities across Maine. For more information, visit

Maine Water is a subsidiary of SJW Group (NYSE: SJW), among the nation’s largest water and wastewater utilities in the United States, providing high-quality water service to nearly 1.5 million people in California, Connecticut, Maine and Texas.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Some of these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of 5 forward-looking words such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “projects,” “strategy,” or “anticipates,” or the negative of those words or other comparable terminology. These forward looking statements are only predictions and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict.

These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions including, but not limited to, the following factors: (1) the effect of water, utility, environmental and other governmental policies and regulations, including actions concerning rates, authorized return on equity, authorized capital structures, capital expenditures and other decisions; (2) changes in demand for water and other services; (3) the impact of the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic on our business operation and financial results; (4) unanticipated weather conditions and changes in seasonality including those affecting water supply and customer usage; (5) climate change and the effects thereof; (6) unexpected costs, charges or expenses; (7) our ability to successfully evaluate investments in new business and growth initiatives; (8) contamination of our water supplies and damage or failure of our water equipment and infrastructure; (9) the risk of work stoppages, strikes and other labor-related actions; (10) catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorist acts, physical attacks, cyber-attacks, epidemic, or similar occurrences; (11) changes in general economic, political, business and financial market conditions; (12) the ability to obtain financing on favorable terms, which can be affected by various factors, including credit ratings, changes in interest rates, compliance with regulatory requirements, compliance with the terms and conditions of our outstanding indebtedness, and general market and economic conditions; and (13) legislative and general market and economic developments. The risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of SJW Group to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Results for a quarter are not indicative of results for a full year due to seasonality and other factors. Other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to materially differ are described in SJW Group’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance, and speak only as of the date made. SJW Group undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


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