Wareham sewer officials seek to borrow $10 million for pipe repairs

Feb 21, 2018

To avoid collapse, a nearly 50-year-old sewer main requires $10 million worth of repairs, officials said Tuesday.

Speaking before Selectmen, Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha and Sewer Commission Chair Jim Giberti said the pipe is at the end of its life expectancy. The pipe runs for 2.2-miles from Swifts Beach to Wareham Village and is made of reinforced concrete.

Both asked Selectmen to place the issue before voters at Special Town Meeting on April 28. There, voters will be asked to approve borrowing $10 million for the repairs. Selectmen unanimously approved the request.

Officials said the funds might be paid back over a 20-year period. However, they are still weighing options, such as how much to spend from the sewer department’s capital fund, which has a total of $10 million. The capital fund is used to make infrastructure repairs to the sewer system.

Without the repairs, the pipe is “susceptible to collapse” and could endanger homes and environmentally sensitive areas, said Campinha.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “It’s significantly in trouble due to corrosion.”

Another problem is a large amount of groundwater leaking into the pipe near Merchants Way, said Campinha. He noted that approximately 5 million gallons of water is getting into the sewer system, which costs $420,000 to treat annually.

Campinha said he’s eyeing an innovative method for reinforcing the pipe.

Campinha explained that to reline the pipe a fiber glass “sock” coated in non-toxic epoxy will be fitted over the pipe. Steam is then applied to cure the material, encasing the pipe. The repair will have a life expectancy of approximately 50 years.

Special Town Meeting will be held during the April 28 Town Meeting, set to start at 7 p.m. in the Wareham High School auditorium. All registered voters may participate.