Earlier this month, firefighters were responding to Red Spring Road hooked up to a rusty hydrant, only to have water shoot out its seams. As the blaze continued and the clock was ticking, firefighters were forced to pick up their equipment and move to another hydrant around 100 feet away.
Fire Chief Mike Mansfield said at the time his crews were fortunate to have a second working hydrant so close by. In other parts of town, however, that may not be the case.
Town Meeting voters will be hearing four proposals seeking to invest $2.7 million into the town’s water systems, targeting everything from century-old water mains to known faulty fire hydrants throughout Andover.
The requests make up articles 41, 42, 45 and 46 of this year’s Annual Town Meeting, which starts Monday, May 6, at 7 p.m. Among the articles:
:ARTICLE 41, MAJOR WATER MAIN REPLACEMENT: To spend $1 million on designing, engineering, constructing, reconstructing or replacing water mains.
ARTICLE 42, WATER DISTRIBUTION MAINTENANCE: To spend $500,000 on cleaning and lining, or replacing, water mains around town.
ARTICLE 45, FLUSHING PROGRAM: To spend $195,000 to launch a water distribution system flushing program.
ARTICLE 46, FIRE HYDRANT INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE: To spend $1 million to repair and replace fire hydrants throughout town.
Water main work is fairly routine around town, with a number of projects coming forward every year to work on the town’s ever-aging water lines. But the latter two articles are efforts that haven’t moved through the town in some time, according to Chris Cronin, acting director of the Department of Public Works.
Hydrants: $1 million for 300 replacements
In his time in town, Selectman Dan Kowalski has paid special attention to fire hydrants.
“A couple years ago, I was walking down the street and I saw this hydrant that was all covered in brush, and I said, `How can anybody even know it’s there? You can hardly see it,’” Kowalski said. “It started making me wonder about the overall condition of them.”