EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 8, 2013

Broken water pipes drop pressure to homes

Officials baffled, think extreme temperature changes to blame


Ward said a 6-inch main that sprang a leak at the 440 North Ave. apartment complex was located about 100 yards off North Avenue and was on a road leading through the complex.

”The pipe cracked and we fixed it with a wrap-around stainless steel sheet,” Ward said.

Twenty units in the apartment complex experienced low or no water pressure for about three hours, he said. About 12,000 gallons of water was lost. Workers completed repairs and back-filling by 6 p.m.

Minutes after the leak was reported at 440 North Ave., a large 12-inch water main in the area of 234-240 Boardman St. ruptured, causing water to bubble up through the road surface and flow to Groveland Street and Water Street below.

“We lost a pretty good amount of water,” Ward said about the leak that took about six hours to repair and affected about 100 customers in that area.

Ward said the leak resulted in the loss of an estimated 216,000 gallons of water. Workers repaired the broken pipe by cutting out a broken section and replacing it. Repairs and backfilling were completed by 9 p.m.

Ward said the breaks had him scratching his head.

”We’ve had two in the past that were pretty close, but I can’t recall when we’ve had three,” he said. “Every winter when the temperature drops as it did last week, we experience a number of breaks, so it could have been that drop,” he said. “I’ve heard that other departments in the area are seeing similar rashes of breaks lately.”

Recent problems with leaks in the city’s water lines began New Year’s Eve, when a 12-inch main on Summer Street burst and water bubbled to the surface of the road, then flowed onto a side street leading down to Water Street.

Ward said about 15 customers in the Summer Street area lost water pressure for several hours while a work crew cut out a cracked section of cast iron pipe and replaced it with a new section of pipe. Including digging and back-filling the hole, workers spent about 16 hours at the site, Ward said.

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