BCWA pipeline repair passes crucial test

"Prover" line passes unimpeded; full lining to begin Wednesday

By Ted Hayes
Posted 10/23/19

Contractors charged with repairing the Bristol County Water Authority’s leaky East Bay Pipeline reached a crucial milestone Monday — they ran a test liner from one end of the subriver …

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BCWA pipeline repair passes crucial test

"Prover" line passes unimpeded; full lining to begin Wednesday

Posted

Contractors charged with repairing the Bristol County Water Authority’s leaky East Bay Pipeline reached a crucial milestone Monday — they ran a test liner from one end of the subriver pipeline to another, with no problems.

Workers from Biszko Contracting of Fall River successfully pulled the "prover" line, a 40-foot length of PVC pipe otherwise identical to the 4,500-foot permanent pipe they hope to thread through the leaky pipeline, underneath the Providence River from East Providence to Providence.
The prover was the same diameter and material as the PVC sealer that will eventually line the pipeline, which has cracks in at least two places and has been leaking more than 400,000 gallons of water per day since the Spring. The prover emerged at the Port of Providence at about 2:30 Monday afternoon, confirming that the delicate task of lining the pipeline's entire length won't hit any unforeseen snags.

BCWA Executive Director Pamela Marchand said Monday that with the prover successfully through, the next step is to snake the drill line that pulled it back to East Providence, where it will be attached to the first of 10 450-foot sections of PVC that will eventually line the pipeline. Those sections will be pulled through one after the other and welded as they go.
She said the the main line will start being pulled through from East Providence on Wednesday.

The pipeline starts at the Port of Providence and terminates adjacent to land owned by the Silver Spring Golf Club in East Providence. At either end of its route the line takes an approximately 45-degree sharp turn upward. To get to the point where the prover could be installed, workers had to remove each “elbow” at the two 45-degree bends, so the semi-rigid PVC would have a relatively flat route to travel across and under the river. Bending it past those 45-degree bends would have been impossible, Ms. Marchand said.

Once the PVC liner is inserted all the way through, those 45-degree bends will be re-installed, the pipeline pressure tested and, if good, will be brought back into service. Ms. Marchand said the work could take a month or more to complete from this point. The project is expected to cost $3.9 million, though BCWA officials have authorized $4.6 million to account for contingencies.

Dam removal
While the pipeline work continues, BCWA officials are also turning their attention elsewhere, and will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30 to discuss the removal of a dam just north of Schoolhouse Road. BCWA officials hope to remove that dam as they decommission the old Kickemuit Reservoir, one of the BCWA's main water sources for many years.

Officials decided to remove the dam several years ago as completing repairs to it required of them by the state DEM would have been too costly, Ms. Marchand has said. The entire project cost is expected to be $1.6 million, Ms. Marchand said, and while she hopes state and federal grants will pay for the majority of the project cost, she conceded that if grants can't be found to cover the bulk of the work, the authority will have to pick up any unfunded portion and will go ahead with the project regardless. She said recently that she is optimistic that grants and other funding sources can be found to cover all but about $250,000 of the project cost.

But if grants can't be found, "we can't shelve (the removal) because the DEM has found the dam to be in violation," she said. "They are updating their requirements for what would be (required in order to maintain the dam) including a new spillway."

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.