By Seth Stutman, Community Reporter
Northborough – On March 7, snow melting from a wild winter and early spring rain combined to cause a Shrewsbury sewer line to break on Thayer Street in Northborough. However, due to the quick work of both the Northborough and Shrewsbury Department of Public Works (DPWs), the pipes and roadway were fixed by March 9.
The 27-inch sewer interceptor line, which takes water from Shrewsbury to a water treatment plant in Westborough, burst near a manhole between 11 and 15 Thayer Street. A lesser break also occurred on Davis Street. The affected 60 feet of piping was replaced with 30- inch piping and the two affected manhole covers were also replaced.
Robert Tozeski, Shrewsbury's water and sewer superintendent commented on the repair.
“It went relatively straight forward, [it was] less of a problem then we thought, but it took a while to complete,” Tozeski said.
The Shrewsbury and Northborough DPWs and contracting companies were able to stop the flow of water and repair the pipes March 9, he said. Shrewsbury residents were asked to cut down on water usage while the problem persisted, but they ultimately did not have to wait very long as the issue was rectified sooner than was initially thought.
A special meeting was held at the Northborough Town Hall to address concerns about the pipe situation March 8. Residents affected by the break met with representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and officials from Northborough and Shrewsbury. Residents reported water bubbling up from the road and flowing onto their properties. They also were nervous about the effect sewer water would have on people, animals and private water sources such as Thayer Pond.
Northborough Town Administrator John Coderre commented, “All the residents we have interacted with have been positive and understanding given the circumstances.” He added that he also appreciated the swift response of the town and the work of those who aided in the repairs.
“[Our] cooperation with the Town of Shrewsbury and DEP has been great,” he said.
Safety concerns have been assuaged as multiple tests on the eight wells that harbor public drinking water have come back showing no fecal coli form, according to Coderre. As a safeguard, more tests will be performed in the coming weeks. While the recommended boil water order in Northborough will soon be lifted, residents should avoid interactions with standing water until further rain and runoff neutralize the negative effects.
The pipe burst was attributed to a water flow that was roughly five times higher than normal levels because of the simultaneous thaw and rain.