Haverhill DPW Using Cameras to Assess Sewer After Collapse of 100+ Year-Old Line Near Bridge

Photograph shows portion of remaining 30-inch sewer line constructed more than a century ago. (Photograph courtesy of Haverhill Department of Public Works.)

After a portion of a more than 100-year-old sewer line collapsed two weeks ago on the Bradford side of Basiliere Bridge, Haverhill is using video cameras to assess conditions of adjacent lines before completing repairs.

Haverhill Department of Public Works Deputy Director Robert E. Ward told WHAV Friday the city has been diverting sewage flow around the collapse with an above-ground bypass pump and temporary piping between manholes.

“When we inspect the inside of a pipe, it’s recorded on videotape. Engineers will look at it and make a determination on whether to line the pipes. The lining process is between manholes, and we don’t have to excavate anything.” Ward explains the liner is flexible until it is pressurized and then the resin within is cured with steam heat.

“The pipe looks decent outside of the collapse,” he said.

Either way, the collapsed section of sewer will be replaced with a modern 24-inch iron pipe at an expected cost of between $100,000 and $150,000. After the new pipe goes in and joints are sealed, the city will backfill the hole and compact it. There is already money in the wastewater budget to cover emergency repairs.

Two weeks ago, it was reported a “sinkhole” emerged when a portion of the 30-inch brick sewer collapsed. In fact, as Ward explains, the collapsed section is missing as bricks were carried away by the water flow. He said, “Originally, the hole was a few feet in diameter. By Sunday (Dec. 22), it was 10 feet by eight feet. It coned out and the hole got bigger as it went down.”

Because the sewer line pre-dates the Basiliere Bridge, the bridge was built over it. Ward said bridge officials from the state Department of Transportation did not find the structure compromised in any way.

Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua has placed an item on Tuesday’s City Council agenda, requesting “urgent attention for Basiliere Bridge.”

A trench box is installed for worker safety. (Photograph courtesy of Haverhill Department of Public Works.)

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