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Scituate water main break causes brown water

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 21, 2013 11:51 AM

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Scituate residents will experience brown water after a private contractor hit a water main early Monday morning.

The contractor had been working at the Walden Woods Development, a 28-unit condo development off Stenbeck Place, when he struck a six-inch water main. The disruption has already shaken up loose sediment within the pipes, which will work its way throughout town, water officials said.

“The people in the harbor area will get it the worst, but it’s floating all the way up Country Way and could easily make it to the west end,” said Nora Finegan, a customer service representative for the Water Department. “We don’t know [how long it will last], it depends. We’re saying 3-4 hours.”

Scituate officials sent out reverse 9-1-1 to residents to alert them of the water conditions, and posted the announcement on the city website.

Though town officials say the water doesn’t pose a health risk, the murk tends to stain clothing, leave brown deposits on dishware in the wash. It looks and tastes metallic.

Scituate’s Water Division is working on a repair, and expects to complete the work by mid-afternoon Monday.

Brown water is caused by iron and magnesium sediments built up on the inside of two-dozen miles of pipe. The sediments are naturally found in the water, and have accumulated over the 100 years the pipes have been in use.

Town officials are working on a $22-million pipe replacement plan to alleviate the problem after brown water became especially bad in summer 2013.


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