, Gloucester, MA

December 11, 2012

Summer Street closed as Manchester repairs crushed pipe

Family evacuated

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — MANCHESTER — Residents of 87 Summer St. did not realize the mess that would follow the plumbing problems they had on Friday night.

The family had to leave their home, and Summer Street is closed until 4 p.m. today as the town repairs a collapsed pipe.

Steve Kenney, director of the Department of Public Works, said the residents first just thought it was the average clogged pipe or stoppage, but they soon found out their problem was much bigger.

Kenney told selectmen Monday night that part of a sewer system under Summer Street had collapsed.

Initially, the residents of 87 Summer St., listed as Remko and Margaret Breuker, hired different plumbers over the weekend to determine what was clogging their pipes, according to Kenney.

After the Breukers contacted the DPW on Monday, Kenney said DPW employees investigated the situation with a “virtual snake” to determine that a conduit was pinching a connecting pipe from the property to the water main.

Kenney said Tuesday he was not sure what caused the collapse, but the section is right underneath an electrical conduit, placed there years ago by National Grid.

As a result, the Breukers were forced out of their home, as they have no working sewer system.

The town would not reimburse the Breukers for getting appraisals by third party plumbers, Kenney said, but the construction to dig up Summer Street for the repair is estimated to cost the town $10,000, he said.

The project was not sent out to bid, because it will not cost more than $25,000.

Town Administrator Wayne Melville said LAD Construction of Manchester is taking on the project.

The excavation to reach the conductor is complex; Kenney said the conduit and collapse are roughly 8 feet under Summer Street.

Melville said only the one property on Summer Street is affected by the pipe collapse and the water main is still active; however there is potential for discharge to leak back into the sewer system from the crushed pipe.

Construction is to begin today on Summer Street and the road will be closed until 4 p.m. Police have set up detours.

“Hopefully it will not take more than a day,” Melville said Tuesday. “It’s an emergency situation, you just cannot have somebody without sewer access.”

The Breukers could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Kenney said they were staying with relatives.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or