Water pipe leak leads to shutoff on Golden Blvd.

Water pipe leak leads to shutoff on Golden Blvd.

Ten homes left without water Saturday

NORTH SMITHFIELD – In a part of town where residents say low water pressure makes simple acts like washing dishes or showering a challenge, even the trickle from faucets stopped over the weekend after the Woonsocket Water Department shut off service to the street following a pipe leak.

A resident discovered the leak last Saturday morning in front of 21 Greenwood St., an abutting road from which pipes run to the neighborhood. The road is serviced by a 2-inch water main installed by private developers in the 1950s, limiting the volume that can flow to the homes.

Modern mains run between 6 and 12 inches, and are flushed routinely to reduce sediment, maintenance not possible on the smaller lines, causing the problem to worsen over time. The street was built before modern regulations required that such infrastructure be turned over to the municipality, further complicating the problem as the substandard line is considered the property of residents.

Water on Golden Boulevard is sent through the pipes by the Woonsocket Water Department.

Last Saturday, Woonsocket personnel responded to the leak, working near the intersection of nearby Crest Road and Weeks Street. According to Town Administrator Gary Ezovski, that work stopped the flow of water, but it also shut off the supply to houses in the area, leaving 10 homes without water.

Ezovski said that around 2 p.m., the North Smithfield Water Department was notified that the leak was stopped, but that the city would not go forward with any effort to repair the problem.

Ultimately, it was employees from North Smithfield water using town resources who repaired the leak, with the help of a Woonsocket employee who offered to try to locate the problem with a “listening device,” according to the administrator. The area was excavated and water was restored to the homes.

The subject of who is responsible for repair and maintenance of the substandard lines has been an ongoing concern among officials from both towns. Residents, thirsty for a solution, note that they pay Woonsocket a bill for maintenance, but city officials contend that they are not responsible for installing the neighboring town’s infrastructure.

In August, the North Smithfield Town Council voted to purchase design plans for water main extensions for Crest Road, Greenwood Street, Buell Avenue and Golden Boulevard. CNA Engineering was hired to produce the plans at a cost of $7,900. The town put the work out to bid and estimates received on October 26 showed the lowest cost to replace the main at $114,589.

“At the same time that we engaged the engineer we also began pursuit of potential sources of funding for the project,” said Ezovski. “While those efforts continue, we have yet to find sufficient funding...”

Ezovski said he believes the leak was a result of corrosion and he is still seeking a way to make the project affordable to the property owners who would benefit from the pipe replacement.

He noted that the situation over the weekend emphasized the need for a solution.

“I think the findings in this circumstance offer further support to the idea that there is need for action to sustain appropriate water service to the impacted homes,” he said.

Comments

This is a public health issue Would the Administrator put up with no water or a dripping from the faucet. Get it fixed. Ask Woonsocket to assist and pitch in to do the right thing. People have paid full taxes for years on that street.Town plows,picks up trash and yet the most basic of needs is denied for a hundred plus thousand dollars? Wrong. Just wrong.