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New round of Catskill water main breaks spawns rehab plans

Village Department of Public Works crews responded to two water main breaks Monday morning. The second break, pictured, is on West Bridge Street near the former Agway.
February 11, 2019 05:28 pm

CATSKILL — A combination of fluctuating temperatures and aging infrastructure led to two more water main breaks in the village of Catskill early Monday. To address the problem, village officials have plans to gradually rehabilitate the system.

The village’s water main system is over a century old.

“In our 2019 capital plan, we are looking to replace some of the oldest [water] lines,” Village President Vincent Seeley said.

The village does not have any figures drawn up for the capital plan at this time, Seeley said.

“We have 30-plus miles of line,” he said. “If they’re supposed to last 30 to 40 years, we should be replacing a mile every year. We’re still playing catch-up from years past.”

Meanwhile, village Department of Public Works crews responded to two more water main breaks Monday morning.

The first break occurred around 3 a.m. on Abeel Drive near Community Life Church. Village crews had the break repaired around 5:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., crews were called back to work to repair another break on West Bridge Street near the former Agway.

The village had water main breaks on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23, following a period of sub-zero temperatures and excessive wind chills.

Water main breaks are not unheard of for Catskill this time of year, Department of Public Works Superintendent Michael McGrath said.

“It’s pretty typical,” he said. “This year we had deep frost, and then it was warm and cold again. Especially with an older system it’s almost unavoidable.”

The village’s water main system is 120 years old, McGrath said last month.

A brief warm-up hit the Twin Counties on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, with temperatures reaching the mid-40s and low 50s.

Seeley agreed the weather is partly to blame.

“As we go through winter’s inconsistent weather, we potentially will experience more breaks as the ground heaves due to warming and refreezing.”

Monday’s break on West Bridge Street took a more intensive repair than the one on Abeel Drive, McGrath said.

“I hope to have it done in a couple hours or so,” McGrath said Monday morning, adding that the crew had to jackhammer through concrete to reach the main. “With the snowstorm coming, I want to get things buttoned up and fixed as soon as possible.”

Only a few houses above the break are without water, McGrath said, but during the repair the Department of Public Works had to temporarily shut off water to about 20 houses on West Bridge Street.

Water service was restored to residents affected on Abel Drive, McGrath said Monday, adding the cause of the break was a hole in the main.

The cause of the second break on West Bridge Street was a crack in the main, McGrath said Monday afternoon.

Traffic was unaffected by the repairs, McGrath said.

“We have flaggers to keep traffic moving,” he said Monday.

Seeley does not expect the village will issue a boiling advisory, he said.