2020 Water Main Replacement Program

The Town annually and proactively replaces water mains whose age and condition make them vulnerable to unexpected service interruptions and costly repairs. The 2020 water main replacement project locations are shown in the map below and listed below. The water mains on these streets will be upgraded to ductile iron pipe designed to the current Town of Watertown standards in order to continue providing high-quality water service to these areas.

  • Essex Street
  • Nash Street
  • Pine Street
  • Oak Street

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The project has been awarded to Commonwealth Construction and Utilities, Inc. and is scheduled to begin in July, 2020.

Water Main Replacement General Tasks

Mobilization and utility mark-outs: The contractor will begin storing equipment and limited materials in the work area. Tree protection and catch basin sediment controls are installed.  Underground utilities, such as existing water, sewer, drain, and gas, are marked out in their approximate locations.

Install temporary water main by-pass system: During construction, the existing water mains in the work area will be shut down. The contractor will set up a temporary “by-pass” system that consists of above-ground piping along the sides of the street. The by-pass system will be connected to the water system outside of the work area. After the by-pass is chlorinated and tested to ensure it is suitable for potable water uses, the contractor will need to access each home to connect them to the by-pass system.

For the duration of the project, homes will be fed off of the by-pass system. Users will not be charged for water use while connected to the by-pass system. Because the temporary water mains are above-ground, the temperature of the potable water is prone to fluctuation. If this is an issue, you can run the water to flush your line. The by-pass system also contains temporary fire hydrant connects.

Water main installation: The new water main will be installed either in phases or throughout the work area. The work includes cutting and removing the asphalt surface, digging a trench, installing the pipe, and backfilling. The process is repeated down the street until critical connection points are reached (usually at an intersection at the ends of the project limits). Water main connections may require the water mains in the area to be temporarily shut-off for periods usually less than one day. Advanced notification will be provided prior to any planned shutdowns.  

Water main testing: During this critical stage you may see little to no construction activity for approximately two weeks. The water main is put under pressure to ensure it was installed correctly. To confirm the water main is properly disinfected and meets our water quality requirements, we conduct two rounds of testing that are performed by certified labs. Additional testing and flushing continue until passing results are achieved.

New service lines connected: After the new water main is tested and meets water quality standards, the contractor will begin service connections. As part of the work, the Town’s portion of your water service, from the new water main to the shut-off box (usually located in the sidewalk) is replaced with 1-inch copper tubing. We will connect the new service piping to your remaining water service. The contractor will again need access to your house to remove you from the by-pass system.

Restoration: The contractor will periodically pave the trench during construction, typically on Fridays. As work nears completion, disturbed areas such as grass planting strips and concrete sidewalks will be restored to existing condition or better. The street trenches will be left for some time to allow for settlement and then the contractor will come back and perform a permanent trench restoration.

All of the contractor’s personnel have been instructed to operate in full compliance with the State of Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 guidelines with respect to social distancing and personal protective equipment.


Water Main Replacement Frequently Asked Questions

Project Area(s) Map