Officials urge Stonington waterline study, possible completion of dead end line

Officials urge Stonington waterline study, possible completion of dead end line


STONINGTON — Pawcatuck Fire Chief Kevin Burns has requested that the town look into connecting a dead-ended waterline that serves many of the community’s largest facilities.

If any part of the line, which is owned by the Westerly Water Company, were to break, water would be shut off to the high school, Davis-Standard, the police station, Spruce Meadows, Brookside Village, Stonington Arms and others. According to the fire code, if a building is equipped with a fire suppression system that includes a sprinkler, it must be evacuated if the water is off for more than four hours.

Burns said that if the line were looped or connected, the water department would be able to isolate the break and then feed the water back through the line the other way so that the community would not be without water.

The unconnected line, which runs down South Broad Street and River Road, would only need an additional 3,000 feet of line to connect it at Greenhaven Road and Renee Drive.

An alternative connection would require 5,100 feet to connect the line from Greenhaven Road to Mary Hall Road.

Burns brought the issue to the attention of the town in May when Davis-Standard was proposing to build an expansion to its building on Extrusion Drive.

“I told the town that it keeps allowing developments in the area which put more demands on the utilities but nobody is making any improvements to these utilities,” he said. “It’s one of the most important water mains in Stonington due to the amount of people and types of facilities it serves.”

Aside from the inconvenience of having to vacate numerous properties and buildings, Burns said the fire department is concerned about a lack of water volume in hydrants along the line if a break occurs.

“This is a safety concern,” he said. “We need to guarantee a certain volume of water in order to do our job.”

Burns said that he didn’t know what the cost would be to the town for the project as it would depend whether it was done by a private contractor, the town’s highway department, or the water company.

Director of Planning Jason Vincent has requested $50,000 in the Capital Improvement Program portion of the proposed 2017-18 budget to fund the design of the project. The planning department said that connecting the lines would enhance public safety and enable additional economic development along South Broad Street.

“It is not the planning department’s initiative,” Vincent said. “We are reacting to a request by the community leadership to address this issue. The issue cannot be addressed without resources to understand the cost and complexity of the solution. We have identified that the community would need to assign those resources if they want to see this project implemented.”

Paul Corina, director of public works in Westerly, said he was under the impression that the town might be able to seek a grant to pay for the construction portion of the project.

“If they get the money in the CIP budget, that will get them started and they can get an estimate,” he said. “I would think that this is something that both towns will want to be involved in. Connecting the line would certainly be beneficial to both towns.”

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