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Video: What's inside Scituate's aged water pipes

Posted by dinouye  October 6, 2012 11:16 PM

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Video taken by Al Bangert, director of Scituate's Department of Public Works, shows a typical pipe cleaning of some of the town's cast iron water pipes.

Many of the pipes are over 100 years old and have undergone a process known as "tuberculation," in which iron and magnesium sediments form barnacle-like attachments inside the pipe.

When the pipes are disturbed, such as during a water main break or hydrant flushing, small bits of this build up break off into the water, causing brown water for 70 percent of the town's residents.

Officials try to remedy that condition with pipe cleanings, in which a styrofoam ball is inserted inside the pipe to scrape the insides. Though severe, this is not typical of what water looks like in Scituate.

A total of 33 miles of pipe in town were this old. Ten miles have already been replaced, and DPW officials have requested a 35 percent increase in water rates to pay for replacing another eight miles of pipe and install a magnesium treatment center at one of the wells.

Without replacing the pipes, tuberculation will continue in these pipes, and expensive pipe cleaning will continue to be necessary, Bangert said.

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