, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 3, 2014

Data on hydrant repairs to be sent via Code Red

NEWBURYPORT — In the coming weeks, Plum Island residents can expect to receive numerous robocalls from the Newburyport Police Department as they relay information regarding the city’s plans to repair 32 fire hydrants across the island.

In all, there are 187 fire hydrants on the island; and during the initial first phase, repairs will be done one hydrant at a time to minimize disruptions.

What that in mind, the city is encouraging all Plum Island residents to sign up for the department’s Reverse 911 system. The system allows the department to send messages to the entire city or strategic areas.

In the past it has been used to alert residents to weather emergencies or road closures.

Earlier this week, City Marshal Thomas Howard said the department’s database includes only the land-line phone numbers of Newburyport residents. Anyone with a cellphone is encouraged to call the Newburyport Police Department and sign up.

The repairs are part of the city’s efforts to shore up problems with the massive water and sewer project that provides those services to the 1,200 residents of the barrier island.

According to the city, the system, only seven years old, suffers from widespread corrosion of bolts that hold the pipes together. The city has teamed up with the state Attorney General’s Office and the state Department of Environmental Protection to hold meetings with CDM Smith, the firm that designed the system, to determine how bad the problem is and to make sure repairs are made.

Corroded metal will be sent to a lab for analysis with the hope that technicians can determine how and why the corrosion is occurring. All repairs are being paid for by CDM Smith as part of negotiations with those three entities.

According to the mayor’s office, lab results are expected to be available in late August with a full report to be reviewed by all parties in September and additional decisions to be made on the next level of repairs at that point.

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