Published in the October 13, 2015 edition.
WAKEFIELD — Public works crews and hired contractors this morning were still cleaning up after a massive water main break in Greenwood Saturday afternoon, one that buckled and then caved-in a section of Green Street, caused a significant drop in the water level of a pressure standpipe atop Dillaway Street, left some residents in the area without water for about 12 hours and plugged catch basins on Main Street with debris.
DPW Director Richard Stinson explained this morning that a major 16-inch water main developed a roughly 15-foot long split and burst open sometime around 1:30 p.m. underneath Green Street near the Dillaway Street interection. By 1:53 p.m., a DPW employee was on scene as the long holiday weekend was in full swing. The employee, aided by one from the Municipal Gas and Light Department who happened to be off duty in the area, shut down a water gate. Water service was off by 2:19 p.m. so crews could begin repairs.
Stinson said two alarms sounded for dropping pressure at the Sidney Street and Montclare Avenue water substations at around 1:36 p.m. The reason was that the standpipe at the top of Dillaway Street was down to a height of 17 feet of water when normally the town keeps 48 feet there. The standpipe maintains pressure to the town’s water system.
DPW crews were in short supply but Stinson said those who were able to came to work to make the repairs a “real DPW team effort.” Forestry, Parks, Fleet, Water, Sewer and Highway division workers all reported and helped.
The damaged section of main was deep enough to require a special excavator so the town called in a Peabody contractor for that piece of equipment.
The catch basin at the corner of Dillaway and Green streets had to be rebuilt; a retaining wall on Main Street washed out and trees behind it got into power lines and had to be cut down; mud and debris, at some points about six inches deep, washed down Main Street as far south as Forest Street; and a sinkhole in Green Street had to be repaired.
Municipal Gas and Light Department crews worked alongside the DPW during the period of repairs, trimming trees, ensuring no electric poles were damaged and that no leaks in the gas line developed while crews dug around and fixed the damaged water main. MGLD employees also helped haul hot top to the Nahant Street yard waste facility.
The water was back on Sunday morning at 2:04, Stinson said, and all roads in the area were reopened to traffic by about 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
This morning, Stinson said crews had to clean out catch basins still plugged with debris from the washout caused by the break and water lines need to be flushed. A special piece of equipment arrived today so the catch basins can be properly cleaned.
A roadway construction contractor will be hired to reclaim the section of Green Street that needed to be temporarily fixed and to adjust roadway structures back to grade.
Stinson said that all bacteria samples taken after the break — mandated by law — came back negative.