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July 15. 2014 9:46PM

Selectmen take issue with Salem water pipe study

SALEM — Selectmen want more information on a proposed study of deterioration of the town’s water pipes before moving forward with it.

On Monday night, selectmen heard from a consultant about a proposed $30,000 that would be utilized to measure the deterioration of a portion of water pipes in town.

Selectmen expressed interest in the town conducting a water pipe study earlier this summer after three recent issues with burst pipes in the area of Route 28 and Main Street.

Christopher Silke of Wright and Pierce said there is new technology that would allow for the gathering of information on pipe conditions in a non-invasive and non-intrusive manner.

The method also gives a more accurate representation of whether a pipe needs to be replaced or if it can be rehabilitated at a lower cost.

“In many instances, the degradation of the pipe itself is much less pronounced than originally believed,” said Silke. In some cases, communities have spent more money than they needed to replace pipes that could have been rehabilitated at a lower cost.

Selectmen were amenable to the new technology, but several stated that they were uncomfortable that the study would only test a small percentage of the town’s 150 miles of water pipes and not the entire length of the system.

“I can’t support a statistical sampling when chances are something that we aren’t going to test might be more deficient than something we are going to test,” said Selectman James Keller.

Selectman Stephen Campbell said if he were to support a study using the new technology, he would at the very least need more details about the criteria set up for what areas and section of pipe would be tested.

“Just doing a random 10 percent or a 10 percent of areas where we know we have problems doesn’t do anything for us,” said Campbell. “I don’t know if we would get anything out of the $30,000.”

Selectman Michael Lyons said the board was under the impression that the study would cover the entire system and not a percentage.

Lyons said a study that does cover only a certain percentage of the town’s pipes could be beneficial, provided the study looked at areas that have been problematical before or along roads that are scheduled for reconstruction under the town’s 10-year road plan.

Selectmen Chairman Pat Hargreaves said he would also like to see how much it would cost and how long it would take to do a study of the entire system.

aswift@newstote.com


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