East Providence Council backs water upgrade; sets speed camera meeting date

Approves plan to install pressure valves on Pawtucket connection pipes

By Mike Rego
Posted 2/7/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — The council at its February 4 meeting backed a resolution sponsored by president and Ward 1 member Bobby Britto that authorized the city to enter into a revised contract with …

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East Providence Council backs water upgrade; sets speed camera meeting date

Approves plan to install pressure valves on Pawtucket connection pipes

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The council at its February 4 meeting backed a resolution sponsored by president and Ward 1 member Bobby Britto that authorized the city to enter into a revised contract with the engineering firm of CDM Smith Inc. for slight improvements to the water system.
The revision adds $48,000 to the cost of the existing arrangement between the parties. Department of Public Works Director Steve Coutu said the city is engaging with CDM Smith to design and oversee the installation of pressure control valves on existing pipes connecting East Providence’s system with that of neighboring Pawtucket.
In making his request for approval, Mr. Coutu provided some background on the matter. He reminded the council about the situation with the Bristol County Water Authority last year, when a severe break in its line necessitated the use of a back-up connection with the city. Mr. Coutu said East Providence “basically supplied (BCWA) water all summer.”
If East Providence’s connection with the Scituate Reservoir suffered the same fate, however, its customers wouldn’t be so fortunate. The BCWA line is not large enough to serve East Providence in an extreme case. In that situation, the city would need to access a connection with Pawtucket.
Mr. Coutu noted the systems are joined at three points, one on Pawtucket Avenue and two on Narragansett Park Drive. Under this plan, the new valves would placed on the latter pair.
Currently, the director said the city “has no way to control” the flow of water from the Pawtucket connection. Mr. Coutu said the last time East Providence was forced to use it, when the Providence system suffered a severe break in the mid 1990s, pipes in Rumford ruptured due to excessive pressure.
Mr. Coutu emphasized the installation of the new valves was a precautionary measure and accessing the Pawtucket system would only be necessary “in the event of an emergency.” He added, the new valves would allow DPW to “open up that system to feed East Providence effectively” if the city’s main pipeline was under duress.

Speed camera meeting
Mr. Britto announced a community meeting for Wednesday night, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall to discuss the potential installation of speed control cameras in school zones.
The body broached the topic previously at January 21 meeting during a broader talk on the perceived problem of vehicular speeding all over the city. Per state law, speed cameras at the moment can only be placed in school zones.
Mr. Britto said one of the main reasons for holding the next meeting on the subject is “to educate the people because there’s some misunderstanding as to what direction people think is the intent of those cameras.”
At the January meeting, Mr. Britto attempted to quell any conjecture his effort was just another way of burdening residents financially.
“I want to make it clear first and foremost, the first thing people say is you’re looking to generate additional income. And that’s not, by any means, my imagination to do something as such. This is a public safety issue only. I’ve been battling this for some time now,” Mr. Britto said in January.
Also last month, Ward 4 member Ricardo Mourato suggested, if possible, to show it’s not a “money grab” any revenue generated be separated from the city’s general fund and earmarked for road safety purposes only. The rest of the council coalesced around that idea, which Assistant City Solicitor Dylan Conley said could be done by ordinance.

Carousel update
Last week, Mr. Mourato provided the council with a brief update on the capital expenditures earmarked for the Crescent Park/Looff Carousel during the current fiscal year.
Mr. Mourato told the body an engineering firm has been hired to conduct a review of the carousel as part of the effort to stabilize the historic structure. Also of note, specifications have been completed for a pre-fabricated building to replace the existing concession stand and bathroom facilities on the site. The specs are now subject to review of various city departments. And all the equipment associated with the ice rink donated to the Carousel Commission are now being stored off site. Mr. Mourato said the equipment is being serviced and catalogued for future use.
Of note as well from the carousel, the council gave its approval for another running later this year of the Coyote 5K, which benefits “Project Depot.” The commission’s “Project Depot” effort is an on-going fundraising initiative with an eye towards installing an oft-discussed train ride on the historic site.

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