Mattapoisett eyes water pipe replacement
Mattapoisett’s Water Department is seeking to replace a water pipe at Peases Point, citing the vulnerability of the current pipe to age and erosion from tropical storms and hurricanes.
The current pipe begins at Peases Point, crosses the beach behind three homes on Beach Road, and comes to connect to a water main at the intersection of Beach Road and Bay Road.
After citing the pipe as a vulnerability to the town’s infrastructure, Water Department Superintendent Henri Renauld applied for, and received, a grant from the Coastal Community Resilience Grant Project to look at options.
Renauld brought Kevin Flood, from Fuss & O’Neill, on board as project manager to pinpoint some of the issues with the pipe and how it could be fixed.
Flood said the pipe, which is 1,000 feet of six-inch asbestos cement, is most vulnerable to exposure and erosion. During storms, most recently during Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013, the pipe under the beach can be exposed after the sand is pulled away.
Additionally, the asbestos cement pipes are brittle, and have a life-span of about 50 years. Flood said this particular pipe was likely installed in either the ‘50s or ‘60s.
Two options were proposed; directionally drill the water main and relocate the pipe away from the beach area, or install a new water main north of Fresh Pond. The group favors the first option, and wants to put a new pipe just north, and nearly parallel, of the current one.
The new pipe would also be buried about twice as deep, close to 10-feet as opposed to the current five or six feet. It would also be lined, both inside and out, and have a lifespan of about 75 years.
Some residents of the area were concerned about access to their homes during construction, but Renauld assured them it wouldn’t be a problem.
“We’ll make sure you can get in and out of your house,” he said. “It’s a number one priority for us as it is for you.”
The next step for the project is to apply for a Coastal Zone Management grant, one the group is confident they can get. That money would be used for designs and cost estimates. Once that is taken care of, the next step would be to apply for a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency grant and go to Town Meeting for money so that the project could be completed.
“We’ll be looking to get this done in the next few years,” Flood said.