Water main in; road work underway

Oct 11, 2017 by

Published in the October 11, 2017 edition

WAKEFIELD — Crews with the DPW and Spencer Contracting completed installing 250 feet of new water pipe this morning on Green Street after a section of a significant main let go early yesterday, eventually snarling traffic and causing some homeowners in the area to go most of the day without service.

Now the cleanup begins. Green Street and part of Main Street will be semi-graded and graveled today, and at some point the part of Green Street between Dillaway and Main streets will be reopened to one way traffic, according to DPW Director Richard Stinson.

Tomorrow, the drainage and sewer system in the are will be flushed and all manholes and catch basins will be cleaned since they filled with debris when the 16-inch main gave way about 200 feet up from the Main Street intersection around 1 a.m. yesterday.

About nine homes went most of yesterday without water service. Of those, six had water service back around 11 p.m. yesterday and three had temporary service back around 1 this morning. The temporary service is needed while the DPW conducts a bacteria test on the main, Stinson explained.

The first binder coat will be put down on the affected road surfaces as early as Friday.

Another break in the major water main running down Green Street to the Main Street intersection had public works officials scratching their heads yesterday about how it could let go again after tests showed the piping to be in good condition. Stinson emphasized again this morning that pipe during the most recent break appeared solid. 

Just about two years after another section sprang leaks in 2015 — bringing water cascading down Green Street from the Dillaway Street intersection, damaging properties and the roadway — the 16-inch main was compromised again. The affected section of main is a little closer to Main Street than the section that broke the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend two years ago, but damage to private homes was reported.

DPW Director Richard Stinson was monitoring work at the site earlier yesterday. DPW crews first had to clear Green and Main streets of debris, which included damaged road surfacing. Then the street had to be dug up so Spencer Contracting could begin installing about 250 feet of new pipe. 

Main Street was closed for a good part of the overnight yesterday as the initial cleanup occurred. As yesterday’s morning commute began, Main Street was opened for two way traffic. Green Street remained closed.

“The last time this happened,” Stinson said, “we sent out a section of the pipe we took from the ground to a lab to be analyzed and it came back fine. So it’s not the pipe, as far as we tell. It may be a surge in pressure or something that’s causing this. We just don’t know at this point.”

According to Fire Chief Mike Sullivan, his men shut down several gas services in the area yesterday and helped homeowners pump water out of their house.

In 2015, the break occurred around 1:40 p.m. on the Saturday before Columbus Day. When the section let go underneath Green Street at Dillaway Street, Green Street buckled and opened up. Homeowners, particularly those on the Crystal Lake side of Main Street, had water in their yards. Some had water in their basements. Retaining walls in the area were also compromised.

A catch basin at the corner of Dillaway and Green streets had to be rebuilt. A retaining wall on Main Street washed out and trees behind it got into power lines and had to be cut down. Mud and debris, at some points about six inches deep, washed down Main Street as far south as Forest Street. A sinkhole opened up on Green Street and had to be repaired.

The following morning, Main Street was open to fire apparatus only. Motorists were unable to use Main Street between Charles and Oak streets until Sunday night, October 11, 2015.

The town ended up paying for damage caused by the break two years ago.

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