$2M water main project planned; Aquarion says Main Street pipe replacement will take three years.

Byline: Ellie Oleson

OXFORD -- Aquarion Water Co. plans to replace Main Street water mains that were found in 2007 to be "hydraulically deficient, as well as deficient due to break history and age,'' the company announced Thursday.

In announcing the plan, John Walsh, vice president of operations for Aquarion, said, "We are committed to providing the residents of Oxford with high-quality water and reliable service, and this investment in the infrastructure in Oxford is part of that commitment.''

Jeffrey P. Farrell, director of operations for Aquarion in Massachusetts, said on Thursday that 5,500 feet of 8-inch and 12-inch pipe on Main Street, from Old Depot Road north to Leicester Street, will be replaced over the next three years at a cost of approximately $2 million.

"The existing water pipe is 100-year-old cast iron. The new 16-inch pipe will be much stronger ductile iron lined with cement. It should be good for 200 years and provide better flow and more water,'' he said.

Mr. Farrell said he had no idea why it took seven years to get the job planned, but is eager to start work in October on the 1,300-foot first phase of the three-phase project.

"Plans have been submitted to the Oxford Conservation Commission. I'm a pipe guy, not a politician. I don't know why it took seven years. I do know we looked at the whole system and everything is prioritized,'' he said.

Aquarion officials have claimed that a takeover bid by the town and subsequent orders from the court not to do any major repairs in the interim have prevented Aquarion from upgrading the local system in recent years.

In 2009, voters at the annual town meeting appropriated $6.7 million to purchase the local water system, which...

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