June 06, 2020

Brewer replacing corroded water line Work at Chamberlain, Prospect streets

BREWER – The 3-foot piece of pipe was so corroded that Mayor Joseph Ferris announced loudly “I don’t want it” when it was passed toward him on Tuesday during Brewer’s regular City Council meeting.

The rusty pipe, part of the 900-feet of water line that is being removed from Chamberlain and Prospect streets, was so incrusted with buildup that the 2-inch water line was reduced to about 1 inch.

“I thought it was important for the council to see the pipe,” Scott Clukey, Water Department supervisor, said Tuesday. “This is an old galvanized line.”

The galvanized water line, which is an estimated 50 years old, was discovered Aug. 8 when a new fire hydrant was installed at the corner of North Main Street and Chamberlain. After testing the line, several leaks were discovered so it was patched with a piece of plastic pipe.

“It’s holding but we don’t know for how long,” Clukey said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

City Engineer Frank Higgins said a majority of the old pipe has holes and “is literally held together with mud.”

Maine Earth of Hermon had the job of installing the hydrant and, with equipment already in place, was given the job of replacing the water line, which the company started last week and is expected to finish early next week.

“Today they should have it [the pipe] all run,” Clukey said. “We’ll flush it out for the next couple of days and on Monday they’ll come do the taps for the 12 homes that need to be attached for the new line.”

Leftover grant funds from the construction of the water tower on Whiting Hill will be used to pay Maine Earth $41,359 to replace the water line.

State laws require that all galvanized pipes, once found, be removed.

“Whenever we find them … we get them out of the ground,” Clukey said.

There is a possibility that a portion of Cove Street, which according to city records should have all plastic pipe, still has galvanized pipe, the water department discovered last fall.

“We cut into a piece of galvanized this fall when we went to hook up the Cove Street developments,” Clukey said. “We need to test to find out where the galvanized is and where the plastic is and replace any galvanized.”

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