The Department of Public Works and consultants have come up with a game plan for eliminating the sewer contamination in a water drainage area of Swampscott, MA, says a report from WickedLocal.com for North Boston.
The area, known as Stacy’s Brook, was chosen after months of assessment done on leaks there, according to a report at the Special Town Meeting last week by David Peterson of the consulting firm Kleinfelder.
Now that they’ve decided on an area to start with, they will be fitting it with cameras to determine exactly where leaks are and the current condition of pipes. King’s Beach at the Lynn line is where Stacy’s Brook drainage area empties into. The structure in place now is between 80 and 130 years old.
The Massachusetts town was notified in October of 2014 by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that there were water quality violations resulting from contamination from the sewer system. The problem led to bacteria infiltrating the nearby beach, which in turn resulted in a $65,000 fine (negotiated down from $125,000) for Swampscott.
As part of the negotiations, the town was also given a September 30 deadline to assess the situation, define a project area, and develop a budget for the work that needs to be done. A later deadline of October 2016 was given to submit an actual design for the project.
Although the town and consultants have worked diligently to hit all deadlines, they’re still not sure when they will begin work.
“There is no hard and fast deadline,” Peterson said.
Recent estimates suggest the end price tag will be in the $9.5 to $11 million range. One of the techniques they’re hoping to use is trenchless pipe repair.
If the pipes are in good enough shape, this is possible and would save them time and money, but if they’re found to be collapsed, traditional excavation will be required. The actual process can cost 30 to 50% more than conventional digging in some cases but will still usually be more cost effective in the end because of the money saved in additional restorative work.
Trenchless methods have been around for decades, but came on the market for residential homes about 10 to 15 years ago. Still, many consumers are still unaware that they’re an option.
Peterson also acknowledged it will probably be a long and slow process that “could extend longer than a decade.”
“Water infrastructure systems are very old and in need of sustained investment for reliable long-term performance,” he said.