South End Braces for Three-Year Major Water Pipe Work; Warren Street First

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) is embarking on a three-year plan to do major replacements of water piping and infrastructure in several locations around the South End, with the full length of Warren Avenue to be the first to the plate this summer.
Irene McSweeney of BWSC appeared at the South End Forum on Tuesday night to brief the community on the extensive plan. She said Umbro – a company that goes back in the South End to the 1960s – has been chosen as the contractor to carry out the project.
She said work on Warren Avenue would begin on the week after July 4, but that exterminators baiting for rats have already begun to work in the neighborhood. The work on Warren will involve, first, installing a bypass system the full length of the street that will provide sanitized water during the project to residents. Workers will need to get access to the water meter or to a water spigot to get that work done.
Work will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, she said.
“We are usually at the bottom of all of the pipes, so our work takes a lot longer,” she said. “An intersection can sometimes take two months.”
In order to execute the bypass, there will need to be a one-day shut down of the water for each residence, and that can be coordinated for best convenience by calling the BWSC. 
She urged Warren Avenue neighbors to call their hotline with questions at (617) 989-7000.
She said the South End’s sewers were evaluated and checked out okay, unlike many other areas, but the water pipes needed work.
She described the Warren Avenue work as “extensive” and replacing two major water mains.
The other work will take place either next year or the year after. The streets there include:
  • Worcester Street (from Washington to Columbus)
  • West Canton Street (Tremont to Warren)
  • Rutland Square (Tremont to Columbus)
  • Shawmut Avenue (Mass Ave to West Brookline)
  • Blagdon Street (Exeter to Dartmouth Street)
  • Greenwich Court (Greenwich Street to end)
  • Clarendon Street (Stuart to Stanhope)
  • Tremont Street (Camden Street to 998 Tremont St.)
She said after the project is completed, the contractor usually re-paves the street the next season, and replaces and sidewalk plates within six weeks.
She stressed that the work is very involved, but that BWSC and Umbro are very flexible.
She said, for example, a resident on one street in a recent work area was having a wedding on the day a shut off was supposed to happen. Needing their residence to prepare for the wedding, they were able to coordinate changing the date to allow the wedding to go off without a hitch.

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