, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 19, 2014

Officials pleased to see PI pact

Holaday: Hydrant work should begin July 7

NEWBURYPORT — City officials are reacting with guarded optimism that an agreement with developers has been achieved to assess and correct construction flaws with the water and sewer system on Plum Island.

Mayor Donna Holaday recently disclosed the city has entered into agreement with CDM Smith Inc. of Cambridge, the engineering firm that created the system, to identify and remedy shortcomings.

A public meeting has been slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the PITA Hall on Plum Island to provide details about the assessment and remediation program.

Costs will be paid by developers, city officials say.

City Councilor Allison Heartquist, whose Ward 1 district includes Plum Island, this week said, “I am encouraged to see that we are moving forward with replacing the hydrants on the island. As Mayor Holaday stated, replacement will start in early July and depending on what they uncover, water mains could also be repaired and/or replaced.

“I’m pleased that the engineering firm and the city have reached an agreement and are willing to work together to ensure the integrity of the system moving forward,” she added.

Councilor Barry Connell, who chairs the council’s Neighborhood and City Services Committee, said, “I’m looking forward to hearing from PI residents about the plan at our meeting on June 25. The agreement with CDM Smith marks the first substantive progress on this issue.

“I know how hard the mayor and the attorney general have worked to reach this interim agreement. But CDM Smith has a long way to go to satisfy our concerns about the design, materials and installation of the PI water/sewer system,” he added. “They built it, and they will have to correct any deficiencies.”

One of the most obvious concerns about the $22 million system is that pipes carrying water to the island have “let go” at least three times.

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