MANCHESTER — When fishermen noticed water bubbling up from Reed Park toward the end of March, that alerted officials to a bigger problem, interim Public Works Director Bill Fitzgerald said Thursday:
It signaled that a pipe joint carrying waste water had sprung a leak.
Now, a connecting joint that ties two materials — plastic and metal — from the wastewater facility to the town’s harbor needs to be replaced, so wastewater flow has now temporarily directed to the inner harbor rather than the outer harbor, Fitzgerald said.
Because the section of pipe lies next to train tracks in saltwater, a barge will be needed to do any work on the joint, Fitzgerald said. The fact that the joint connects two different materials also complicates the water flow.
”If it was on dry land, it would be fixed in a couple hours,” he said.
The emergency repairs are scheduled throughout the coming weeks, and the pumping will need to temporarily relocated to inner harbor, specifically on the north side of the railroad trestle, near the back of the American Legion parking lot.
Bypass pumping is planned throughout two days, but the treated water exceeds federal and state standards for harbor discharge.
The town has notified neighbors and boaters, though Fitzgerald said that particular section is not heavily used by boaters.
Approximately four to five feet of joint piping will be replaced, which is costing the town about $150,000, provided everything goes right, Fitzgerald said.
Interim Town Administrator Wayne Melville said that, because it is an emergency repair, the Bureau of Accounts allows the town to spend the money without going to town meeting.
Melville said the authorization for the money will be posed as a ballot question on the May 22 Special Town Meeting.
Town officials said they expect the work to be completed, by the end of next week.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.