October 2015 Vol. 70 No. 10


When a Town Had Enough of its Brown Water

What would you do if your drinking water was discolored and your water system was more than 100 years old? That is the question residents in the Town of Scituate, MA, were faced with when they voted in favor of a $22 million water pipe replacement project in November 2013. Today, work continues on the three-year project to update a portion of the century-old water supply system.

The Town of Scituate is located in Plymouth County and is home to 18,133 residents, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau figures. The town sits on the Massachusetts South Shore and is approximately 25 miles southeast of Boston. It was settled 385 years ago and today retains much of the Irish ancestry that settled in the area.

As with many other older cities in the Northeast region, Scituate faces infrastructure challenges, namely old underground utilities that need to be updated. Residents were in favor of updating their water pipe system to improve the water quality and appearance.

According to the Public Works Department, the old water pipes were installed between 1901 and 1935, and are made of unlined cast iron. In summer months, sediment from the iron pipes causes a phenomenon referred to as “brown water.”

Scituate residents voted to replace a 24-mile portion of the aged system with an increase in water rates and water enterprise revenues. According to the town website, the water division is responsible for 100 miles of water distribution system, 250 fire hydrants and 7,200 water meters.

Weston and Sampson Engineers Inc., an engineering firm from Peabody, MA, was contracted by the Scituate officials to review information about the underground pipes and valves. The town asked the firm to confirm which pipes needed to be replaced and recommend the order in which the work should be done and prepare the final bid package for the first phase. The plan was for the work to begin in spring 2014 and to be spread over three years.

Phase 1A of the water main replacement project included construction of approximately 3,500 feet of new 12-inch and 11,900 feet of new 8-inch ductile iron water main in town streets and neighborhoods. The work included installation of a temporary water main and services, replacement of all water services, installation of hydrants and water main abandonment.

Year 2
Following one of the worst winters on record in the northeast, construction crews were eager to get back to work this spring.

Employees of R&D Site Development, a construction company based in Groveland, MA, were hired to complete a $3 million portion of the water main replacement project in 2015. According to Public Works Director Kevin Cafferty, residents would still have water while the work continued, although some road detours would be required.

Bill Daley and Steve Reppucci have built a solid reputation for themselves in Massachusetts. While a relatively young company that started in 2005, co-owners Bill Daley and Steve Reppucci have built a solid reputation for themselves in Massachusetts. “We started our business by doing small construction sites and small utility projects,” Daley says. “That got bigger and bigger over the years. Now we do tens of thousands of feet a year with water and soil projects.”

With 13 dedicated employees, the company works April through December, weather permitting. Jobs like the water main replacement for the Town of Scituate are a good fit for R&D Site Development, which specializes in installing utilities for local municipalities throughout Massachusetts. Altogether, the company owns 50 pieces of specialized equipment to best match the job at hand. The company works with commercial clients, local airports and municipalities to complete a variety of projects.

According to Daley, the R&D Site Development portion of the 2015 water main project includes 30,000 feet of water mains, hydrants and services. He says work began in early May and took about 18 weeks to complete their portion. The Town of Scituate is leaving the existing water mains in the ground, and Daley says his company is laying a new corridor with new pipe.

Limited work room
Like a lot of other cities in the northeast, streets are narrow and do not provide much room for two-way traffic and parking, let alone construction projects. The town re-routed traffic while Daley, Reppucci and their crew performed their underground construction tasks. Daley says they started with a four-foot-wide trench cut through the asphalt road. A Doosan DX235LCR reduced tail swing excavator, purchased earlier in 2015 from the local Doosan heavy equipment dealer, Equipment East, was instrumental in efficiently excavating dirt from the trench. The 25.4-metric-ton crawler excavator has a maximum dig depth of 21 feet 10 inches, and a maximum reach of 31 feet 7 inches.

With Reppucci seated inside the excavator cab at the controls, he removed soil from the trench and left the spoil pile next to it. One area where R&D Site Development worked in 2015 was along First Parish Road and Maple Street, where mature trees line both sides of the road. Daley says his crew installed 12-inch pipe in the trench with the help of the 166-net-horsepower DX235LCR excavator and various buckets. The reduced-tail-swing excavator was the perfect size for the underground project. Daley says his company purchased the excavator because of its size and agility. It is 10 feet 5 inches wide, and has a tail overhang of just 3 inches over the side.

“Most of our work is in the inner city of Boston and the surrounding areas, so we really need a reduced-tail-swing excavator,” he says. “It is easier for the operator to maneuver and it keeps the machine looking better over time, too.

“Earlier on the project, we had two pipe sizes going in the same trench,” Daley says. “We connected the 36-inch trenching bucket to the Doosan excavator and we were able to put in two pipes. Then, we went back to one pipe and we switched to the 24-inch trenching bucket, eventually converting to the 18-inch trenching bucket when we were installing smaller pipe.”

Quick change
It was important for Daley and Reppucci to change buckets to best match the digging requirements and not over-dig. “The less digging, the better for us,” Daley notes. They can easily switch back and forth between different trenching buckets because they have a Doosan hydraulic quick coupler installed on the DX235LCR crawler excavator. Reppucci can quickly change his buckets without leaving his seat, and each bucket comes standard with teeth to dig through tough soil conditions. A quick coupler control box in the excavator’s cab makes it simple to activate the quick coupler to lock or unlock the attachment connection mechanism.

Once Reppucci removed the soil from the trench, a worker used an upright compactor to compact the soil. Meanwhile, Reppucci rotated the excavator’s house to access and lift a pipe, turned the unit back to the trench and placed the 1,000-pound pipe in the open trench. A Bobcat S650 skid-steer loader with bucket backfilled the trench with the spoil after the pipe was put in place.

Work will continue in 2016 as the Town of Scituate completes its three-year construction project to replace 24 miles of water pipes,
hoping to improve water quality for decades to come.

Doosan Equipment, (877) 613-7970, www.DoosanEquipment.com
Bobcat, (866) 823-7898, www.bobcat.com
R&D Site Development, (978) 374-4353,www.rdsitedevelopment.com

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