The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Boothbay Harbor Sewer District a grant of $254,000 and a loan of $596,000 to replace and upgrade existing sewer lines.

Superintendent Chris Higgins said the award is not unusual — his department applies for project funding through the state’s revolving loan fund or the USDA’s Rural Development program every couple of years and is, so far, “batting 1,000.” This time, the grant amount relative to the size of the project is actually less than in past years, which he attributed to a general decline in federal funding.

The Sewer District maintains 26 miles of sewer lines. The USDA money will be used to replace roughly 2,000 feet on Ocean Point Road, starting at Townsend Avenue and heading east, and extend that line another 800 feet to the top of a hill just east of Eastern Avenue.

“It’s kind of strategic and geographic in nature,” Higgins said about the end point. Any sewer installations to the east would have to be pumped uphill to reach the extended line. “I don’t know if East Boothbay will ever get sewer,” he said. “But if they decide to go that way, there will be a place for them to connect.”

Higgins said an undersized and poorly installed 6-inch sewer main from the 1960s will be replaced with a new 8-inch main. Traffic should not be significantly affected, he said, because most of the sewer main lies along the shoulder of the road. The one exception will be the interesection of Route 96, which will be dug up for one or two days at the start of the project but not so much as to require a detour.