• Last modified 653 days ago (Oct. 29, 2020)


Water main breaks frustrate city's staff, residents alike

Staff writer

A water-line break on Walnut St. in Peabody has been fixed and buried, but city officers are looking for solution to Peabody’s infrastructure woes as they wait for a crew to place asphalt over the hole.

The chasm that opened near the sidewalks of the town’s main business district earlier this month was the fourth rupture the city had to deal with in nearly 10 days, mayor Tom Spencer said.

“This is becoming an all-too frequent occurrence in the city of Peabody,” he said.

So far in October, crews responded to the following:

  • A split water line near the four-way stop on Walnut St. during the first week of the month.
  • The rupture of a resident’s old, rusted service line near 7th and Sycamore nearly a week later.
  • A break in a service line to the restrooms at Peabody City Park, that happened a week after that.
  • A water-main break in front of Mane St. Beautique on Walnut.

City councilman Jay Gfeller said the mayor and council have set aside money for repairs, but the lines are ancient.

“We do have a very old water main infrastructure,” he said. “More than 100 years old.”

Spencer said he heard Peabody was one of the first municipalities to have a public water system.

“And I, for lack of a better way to put it, would bet that it has some of its original equipment,” Spencer said.

Residents have complained about brown, foul-smelling water running from their faucets, that Gfeller said can be caused by buildup in old mains.

Replacing Peabody’s water lines won’t be cheap. In 2016, an engineering company estimated the cost would be $4.5 million. “Basically, that’s a lot,” he said. “Even with grants from the state, we’re still a long way from attempting to do that.”

Gfeller said the city has set aside tax money for a more permanent solution.

“There is nothing set in stone,” he said. “We are tossing around ideas for how to move forward and have domestic and fire water service.”

Last modified Oct. 29, 2020