$10 million approved for sewer line repair at Wareham Town Meeting

By Matthew Bernat | Apr 23, 2018
Photo by: Andrew W. Griffith Board of Sewer Commissioners Chair Jim Giberti speaks in favor of a $10 million sewer project on Monday.

A costly, critical sewer line repair will move forward after voters at Town Meeting approved spending up to $10 million for the project, which calls for relining a 1.7-mile stretch of pipe from Swifts Beach to the Narrows pump station.

Half of the funds will come from sewer department savings and the other half will be borrowed. Because $5 million will come from savings, officials said users’ sewer rates will not increase.

Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha said the project was crucial in order to avoid a potentially catastrophic environmental 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.

“I can’t say when the pipe will fail, but it could be soon,” said Chris Cronin, of BETA Engineering, on Monday. “We’re trying to avoid catastrophic failure.”

Officials said because the pipe runs through environmentally sensitive areas, state laws will likely prohibit direct replacement, forcing the town to lay several miles of extra pipe, which will drive up costs. The repair work includes relining the pipes with a coating of fiberglass and epoxy. That will strengthen the pipes and seal cracks and holes.

The vote required a two-thirds majority and passed unanimously.

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