Pipe replacement will cost Ipswich ratepayers

IPSWICH – Ipswich is currently facing approximately $ 4 million in water and sewer repairs. Part of it was approved at the town meeting, others have yet to be approved by the town meeting. However, the city needs to replace its entire centuries-old aqueduct system in segments, which will likely cost over $ 100 million in total.

“It’s not cheap,” said Vicki Halmen, director of water and wastewater.

Replacing sewer pipes in the Ipswich River at Choate Bridge, which the town meeting has already approved for $ 2 million, will begin this fall, Halmen said.

The replacement of the water pipe after several breaks, which have now been repaired in Topsfield Road near Cherry and Stafford Roads, still requires approval from the Town Meeting.

The 100-year-old cast iron pipes that broke on Topsfield Road this May had exceeded their useful life both on Topsfield Road and in the entire water system, according to Halmen. The emergency repairs required replacing 10 water valves for $ 60,000 so the water department could complete the repairs. Complete repairs and replacements of the water line on Topsfield Road could exceed $ 1 million, Halmen said.

The area suffered three major water breaks in May, all of which were resolved by the water department with internal supplies and manpower.

“We need to assess the need for a major project on Topsfield Road because of these errors,” said Halmen.

Additional replacement of the water pipe

Town Meeting approved a 1.3-mile major replacement to be held on High Street this summer, roughly from the Clam Box Restaurant to Ipswich High / Middle School. Another major replacement on the high street will be presented to the town meeting, Halmen said.

The aqueduct on Market Street will also be replaced this fall before the street is rehabilitated. The gas pipes were replaced last spring. The idea is to do any work that requires tearing open Market Street before it is restored, Halmen said.

The entire aqueduct system adds up to about 100 miles at Ipswich, and the entire system, with the exception of the few miles that have been replaced, is about 100 years old.

“We need to prioritize and review the impact on the community,” said Halmen.

The water department replaces the old cast iron pipe with cement-lined ductile pipes, the current industry standard.


The sewage treatment of the Ipswich River in front of the Choate Bridge requires two cofferdams, one on each side of the bridge, so that the crews can get their job done. Cofferdams are temporary structures built to allow work to be carried out in an area pumped dry by water.

The siphon pipe that runs under the river is being replaced while the pipe seen at low tide is retained.

“The project will start construction in October and will hopefully last three to six months. Stabilization of the river bank will take place afterwards, ”said Halmen.

The Ipswich River at low tide as seen from the Choate Bridge.  A sewer line will be replaced in this section of the river from October.  The work should take three to six months. [Wicked Local photo/Dan Mac Alpine]

You might also like

Comments are closed.