Gardner residents aren’t imagining things – there have been more water main breaks than normal in the past few weeks.
Brian Faust, director of Gardner public works, said a drought combined with a cold winter made conditions ripe for additional water main breaks. Additionally, the city scheduled maintenance to one of its water towers this spring. Painting the tower tank required shutting down the tower, which resulted in fluctuating water pressure throughout the system.
Faust said when the tower was shut off a few weeks ago, there were 10-15 water breaks throughout town. In a typical spring week, public works sees one or two water main breaks.
“That first week was more than normal,” Faust said. “But it was anticipated. We had crews ready.”
Most of the water main breaks were in the older parts of town, south of the Center Street bridge.
“Most of the newer pipe that was put in during the build-up around 2000 held up,” Faust said. “Most of the pipe that broke was older stuff that had been in the ground for 40, 50, 60 years. A lot of the things that failed had failed numerous times in the past.”
Additional crews were available for water main breaks, and Faust said in most cases, residents affected by breaks had water service restored within four hours.
Currently, the number of water main breaks is back to normal.
Work on the water tower is expected to continue for at least the next two weeks, depending on the weather.
Faust said he hopes there aren’t any additional service disruptions when the tower is re-hooked to the water system.
“I think we found any weak spots we had,” Faust said.