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|Town balks at burying water main|
|By Susanna Sheehan|
|Wednesday, October 30, 2013 11:54 AM|
To bury the entire Pine Street water main underground would too costly, Duxbury officials decided this week; instead they opted to landscape the area where the iron pipe runs along the street and nearby properties.
On Monday, the Board of Selectmen learned it could cost as much as $150,000 for construction, engineering and permits to bury a portion of the Pine Street water main that is above ground near a dam on Lake Shore Drive.
The water main project was funded by the 2012 annual town meeting at a cost of $1.021 million. Water rates paid for the project. The new main was needed to bring town water to Pine Street and Lake Shore Drive, because residents in those areas had water quality issues in their wells. The new main also supplies water to Millpond Lane, Chandler Mill Road, and Hitty Tom Road.
The water main is buried underground except for a section that runs above ground near a dam on Lower Chandler Mill pond. The state Office of Dam Safety has jurisdiction over the area near the dam, including the right of way along Lake Shore Drive. During construction, it refused to let the main go through the dam. Instead, a portion of the pipe comes up out of the ground and runs along the street. (Another alternative — running the main through the pond — was not acceptable to the town, according to Department of Public Works director Peter Buttkus, because it would be hard to detect and repair leaking pipes.)
In recent weeks, area residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the above ground water main looks near their properties, which prompted selectmen to discuss the matter on Oct. 7. The offending pipe affects Russ Erickson at 9 Lake Shore Drive the most. He has said it cuts off a part of his land, making it difficult to access.
Ryan Trahan, the project manager for the engineering consultant Environmental Partners Group Inc. of Quincy, explained that running the pipe underground will require placing it on private property. This means obtaining permission from both Erickson and the town of Pembroke.
Trahan estimated that burying the water pipe would cost $135,000 for construction and engineering and he added extra money for other items, such as legal fees, bringing that total to $150,000. The price of $135,000 includes $83,000 for construction, removal of the existing pipe and guard rail, installing the water main, reconnecting it and repairing the pavement, and $52,000 for engineering: designing the stream crossing and water main connections, obtaining permits from the Conservation Commission and the Army Corp of Engineers, construction engineering and surveys.
Trehan’s estimates are based on using the construction company, SB General Contracting, that installed the water main and calling the project a change order, but rebidding the engineering. The $135,000 price does not include the costs to obtain the easements from the property owners or legal fees to record the takings.
Currently, there is $50,000 left in the water main project account. When they discussed the water main project three weeks ago, Selectman Shawn Dahlen had thought there was $150,000 left in the budget.
Selectmen said if they favored the project, they would have to go back to town meeting to obtain the additional $85,000, but felt it could be done within the scope of the 2012 warrant article for the project.
Between the cost and the effort, selectmen chose not to support burying the above ground pipe.
“I was an advocate of putting it underground, but I think that under the circumstances, with the extreme cost and the fact that we would end up going back to town meeting, I don’t think the aesthetics can justify the amount of additional funds,” said Dahlen.
The board asked Buttkus to come up with a landscape plan that would buffer Erickson’s view of the water main. This could be plantings, a fence or a wall or some combination of these, said Buttkus. Dahlen estimated that it should cost $10,000 at most for landscaping. Buttkus agreed to move forward with a landscape plan but said that it would have to receive approval from the Office of Dam Safety. He said that department does not want any vegetation near dams.