Christopher LeClaire, Fire Chief
3 Greenleaf St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Work on Sewer Force Main Replacement Project to Resume in Newburyport
NEWBURYPORT– Director of the Department of Public Services Anthony Furnari and Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire report that work on Newburyport’s sewer force main replacement project on Low Street will resume tomorrow.
The project replaces approximately 8,000 feet of an aging sewer main to increase capacity and flow in the area from Hale Street to the intersection of Pond and Greenleaf streets.
Work began July 5 on Hale Street and was briefly paused on Aug. 8 after contractors struck an unmarked, high pressured gas line on Low Street around 10:25 a.m., causing a gas leak.
National Grid, which owns the gas line, was able to turn off the the gas line approximately 12 hours later, at 10:25 p.m.
At no time was the public ever in danger, as the natural gas released from the main immediately dissipated into the atmosphere. Because natural gas is odorless and colorless, an odorizer is added to serve as an alert system if a gas leak were to occur. At that time, residents may have smelled the oderizer around Low Street.
Following the gas leak, Newburyport’s Department of Public Services spent the week working with National Grid to ensure all gas lines were identified and labeled. Additionally, Dig Safe System reevaluated the area and all underground utilities were remarked.
“Although there was very little hazard to the public during the gas leak, city officials have spent the last week working to ensure that no further disruptions occur,” Chief LeClaire said. “We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding during this process.”
Work will resume on Thursday, Aug. 18 on Low Street. Crews will be on site between 7-8 a.m. Beginning Aug. 22, contractors will be on site for 12 hours at a time to ensure work does not interfere with the beginning of the school year. The entire project is expected to be completed around Thanksgiving.
During construction, Low Street will remain open, but residents should prepare for slight delays in traffic flow.
“We are confident that the force main replacement project will resume in a safe and efficient manner so that work can be completed on schedule,” DPS Director Furnari said.