News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 30, 2017
Water main project winds down, final paving in spring
160,000 gallon loss from October storm

Main Street water line replacement project

Fresh tar is laid on main Street on November 15 signaling the final stages of the main Street water line replacement project.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

After a rough couple of weeks following the October 30 windstorm, crews from Vaughn Thibodeau have completed over eight weeks of construction replacing water lines along Main Street, with cleanup continuing this week.

“They pulled it together and got it done,” Annaleis Hafford of Olver Associates said at a November 20 Stonington Water Company meeting. Final paving, two new hydrant installations, and loam and seeding will occur in the spring.

Funded through a $1 million Community Development Block Grant, the project replaced 1,620 feet of 8-inch water main along Main Street from Robbins Street to the end of North Main Street.

Throughout the work, crews attached homes and businesses to a temporary water line, handled traffic in and out of downtown Stonington and dealt with a severe windstorm and power outage while deep in the construction.

The storm may have delayed construction but it also dealt a blow to the water company wells without generators for all but one well, and that generator malfunctioning.

“First day of the outage our loss was high, but not alarming,” Hafford reported, but the loss on the storm’s second day, October 31, reached 70,000 gallons. From the storm day forward, the wells were losing 20,000 to 25,000 gallons more than they were pumping, according to a November 20 operations report. Usual use at this time of year is 10,000 to 25,000 gallons per day, with a standpipe level of 46 feet before the storm. The water loss dropped that level to seven feet. By November 17, the standpipe level was back up to 47 feet, Hafford said.

Significant losses also came from leaks in private lines, with one positive outcome of the storm was that a few pre-existing leaks were identified, Hafford noted.

“It’s been a pretty challenging couple of weeks,” Hafford said, with Superintendent Ben Pitts in agreement.

With an anticipated $110,000 CDBG grant surplus, Hafford suggested using the funds to replace the iridium system at the pump house, drill the #205 well deeper and line it and purchase a portable generator.

The 2018 operating budget will be discussed at the January 15 meeting although Hafford alerted selectmen to a projected $2,000 revenue loss from Stonecutters Kitchen which uses significantly less water than it did when operated as Fisherman’s Friend Restaurant.