Water Main Break Spills 1.4M Gallons

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Drinking Water

Repairing the water main break took 25 hours by crews working in sub-freezing temperatures. WILLIAM F. GALVIN PHOTO

HARWICH PORT Unfolding during last week’s fierce nor’easter, but completely unrelated to the storm, a major water main break in Harwich Port Friday caused system-wide disruptions and resulted in the loss of about 1.4 million gallons of drinking water.

Water Superintendent Dan Pelletier said a six-to-seven-foot linear crack opened in a 10-inch cast iron main under Route 28 near Kildee Road shortly before midnight Thursday. The main was installed in the 1940s and suffered the same kind of failure seen in a leak near Brooks Road last summer, Pelletier said.

Fixing the leak was a particularly challenging job, he said, requiring 25 gate valves to be closed to isolate the damaged pipe. High groundwater and heavy rains caused the work trench to fill with water, and a special pump need to be brought from Brewster to clear away the water. A number of customers were without water for many hours, and the changes in water flow during the repair caused some customers in different parts of town to experience dirty water.

“The crew that was out there working in 5-degree weather for 25 hours, I can’t say enough about them and their professionalism,” Pelletier said.