Wareham sewer work reinforces badly corroded pipe ahead of schedule
A small section of an estimated $10 million project to shore up a failing sewer main started ahead of schedule on Tuesday. According to Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha, the work helped avoid a “catastrophic failure.”
A 78-foot section of the 1.7-mile long pipe, which runs from Swifts Beach to a pump station near the Narrows, was reinforced on High Street.
“That spot was so critical we didn’t want to wait,” said Campinha. “We feared collapse, the concrete in the pipe is gone and the structural integrity was compromised.”
Voters at April Town Meeting approved spending up to $10 million for the entire project. Half of the funds will come from sewer department savings and the other half will be borrowed.
Campinha said Tuesday’s work was crucial to avoid a potential disaster. The pipes were installed in the early 1970s and range in size from 18 inches to 21 inches in diameter. Officials said a review of the pipe’s interior using closed circuit television found extensive corrosion.
While the majority of work is slated to start this fall once contractors are approved, Campinha stressed that the High Street section was in such poor condition that a collapse was possible.
“That was one of the most critical sections of the entire project,” said Campinha. “We just couldn’t afford to wait.”
Work started Tuesday morning and wrapped up that evening. Campinha thanked residents living on Sawyer Street, High Street, Church Street and Kennedy Lane for dealing with the inconvenience.
“The neighbors were incredible,” said Campinha. “When you start closing roads and redirecting traffic that’s a problem…We appreciate their patience and understanding.”