Crews spent long hours digging, filling and chasing down gates, leavened with a little levity.
Update on Saturday Sept. 26, 1 p.m.: The state Department of Environmental Protection has lifted the boil water order issued Friday for residents affected by the water main break on River Street.
It is no longer necessary to use boiled water or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and preparing food. The City of North Adams apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks you for your patience.
The areas specifically identified as potentially affected were:
River Street, Yale Street, Upper Meadow Street, Williams Street, North Street, Cady Street, Pitt Street, Chesbro Avenue, Chase Avenue, North Holden Street, Dover Street, Miner Street, Wal-Mart, and McCann Technical School.
The city has it has taken the following actions to confirm the status of the water system:
The water main has been repaired and the water mains were disinfected with chlorine.
A chlorine residual has been maintained throughout the water system.
Friday, Sept. 25, multiple water system samples were collected from the affected area and elsewhere in the city. All results were absent for total coliform bacteria and showed adequate chlorine residuals.
Pressures have been determined to be adequate in the at-risk areas.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city released a boil water notice for all residences and business that lost water service or experienced discolored water or lower pressure in connection to the River Street water main break.
The Department of Public Services released a statement at 2:30 p.m. on Friday urging residents and businesses whose water was affected to boil water before consumption.
The statement reads:
"Due to the water main break on River Street, and as a precaution, all residences and business which lost water service, or experienced discolored water or lower pressure (below 35 psi at the water main/hydrant), advised to boil water for one minute prior to use for human consumption."
The Public Works and Water departments spent two days trying to isolate the leak in order to repair it. The 24-inch main separated at a joint that was probably caused by expansions and contractions from changing temperatures.
The leak was reported at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday and crews dug out the area on Wednesday. However, crews struggled to track down and turn the appropriate gates -- shutoffs that allow water to be diverted or shut off to certain sections of the system. Many of the 400-odd gates in the city are obsolete and some have trouble functioning.
There's also been issues with the mapping system for the gates and the departments have been depending on old maps because the digital ones created in the 1990s are "muddled" said Public Services Commissioner Timothy Lescarbeau.
In this case, it turned out the culprit was a line long that removed when the flood control system was installed along River Street. A check on the other side of Marshall Street some years ago related to Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art found concrete in the line. However, there was a section on the east side of the bridge that was still active.
During this time, a number or residences lost water or experienced low water pressure. Although the main ran down River Street, it also affected McCann Technical School and the City Yard on Hodges Cross Road and, to some extent, Walmart. McCann was closed and students at Colegrove Park Elementary reverted to remote education as a precaution.
Crews were able to find that old gate and shut off the water. A pressure collar with a rubber gasket was placed on the 140-year-old pipe late Thursday night that successfully closed the leak.
The city also released a fact sheet that stated no water samples have confirmed the presence of bacteria, and the notice is being issued as a precaution.
The sheet included:
Massachusetts drinking water standards required public water systems to maintain 20 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure at each service connection to ensure safe water to our customers. These circumstances warranted advising those customers with discolored water, those who lost service and those whose pressures dropped to below 20 psi to boil their water upon resumption of water service. We determine pressure loss through hydrant pressures at less than 35 psi to have occurred in the following areas: River St., Yale St., Upper Meadow St., Williams St., North St., Cady St., Pitt St., Chesbro Ave., Chase Ave., North Holden St., Dover St., Miner St. WalMart, and McCann Tech.
Loss of pressure can result in backflow of water through and into the distribution system and may result in bacterial contamination. As a result, we advised customers in the affected area to boil their water and MassDEP is requiring the issuance of this public notice as a precautionary measure.
The fact sheet also stated :
We made repairs in the area and restored water pressure where pressure drops were identified. We maintained chlorine disinfection throughout our distribution system to kill bacteria and viruses that may be present. We will verify adequate pressure and will collect bacteria samples to confirm water quality within the area of concern and elsewhere in our distribution system. We will verify protection of the water system from backflow risks. We will let you know you are no longer advised to boil water due to this incident.
A public notice with more detail is available and is being distributed to affected areas. Further notice will be provided when the boil order is lifted.
For more information: please contact Public Services dispatch at 413-664-3047.
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North Adams Redevelopment Applying for Development Grants
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
The board also voted to apply for an extension of the Urban Renewal Plan.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Redevelopment Authority on Monday approved applications for two grants that will aid in determining the future of Western Gateway Heritage State Park and surrounding properties.
"The scope of work for this project if awarded will include a review of existing conditions which would include building and infrastructure assessments, development objectives, which would essentially create a new vision redevelopment for several properties owned by the city and the Redevelopment Authority," explained Zachary Feury of the Community Development Office.
Mayor Thomas Bernard in August stated his intention to put the park back out to bid for requests for proposal. The property has been tied up for years, first with plans for a marketplace and housing that collapsed along with the economy nearly a decade ago and then with the proposed Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum. The museum had not responded to an updated offer to extend its option earlier this year.
The technical assistance grant through MassDevelopment would provide support for a number of areas including planning and economic development, market feasibility, analysis, and RFP development and process. It would also aid in addressing site-specific challenges.
The weeklong Cultural Appreciation Week celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion in the courts and communities throughout the commonwealth. This year's theme is "We Rise by Lifting Others, Justice and Culture: Bridging the Gap."
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Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo told the trustees Wednesday during a remote meeting that the library plans to expand some technology services by appointment even though the building is closed to the general public.
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The grant is from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing civic engagement and professional administration in elections. City Clerk Deborah Pedercini applied for the grant.
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Superintendent Barbara Malkas last week said the single positive case was limited to a classroom and adjacent bathrooms, all of which were sanitized, and that everyone in contact with the individual was informed.
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