New Swifts Beach sewer plan awaiting state approval
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New Swifts Beach sewer plan awaiting state approval

Dec 30, 2023

Sewer Commission to give update on Swifts Beach projectMonday, June 5, 2023

Town Meeting urges cancellation of Swifts Beach sewer replacementMonday, April 24, 2023

Swifts Beach resident launches write-in campaign for Sewer CommissionWednesday, April 5, 2023

Two Sewer Commissioners not seeking reelection Monday, March 27, 2023

Select Board expresses support for petition to cancel Swifts Beach projectTuesday, March 7, 2023

Swifts Beach residents plan next steps as sewer project is delayedTuesday, February 14, 2023

Swifts Beach residents demand answers on sewer projectFriday, January 27, 2023

Forget the grinder pumps.

Local businessman Danny Warren announced a new plan for the long-suffering sewer system under Wankinquoah Avenue during a meeting at the Swifts Beach Community Center on Thursday, June 8.

Three companies are vying to get the contract with the town to do the work, Warren's included. Whoever gets the contract would install two new pipes and a new gas line under Wankinquoah Avenue. A special resin that expands and hardens when it touches water would be used to prevent asbestos from the old pipe from escaping. The entire road would be repaved as well.

"You wind up with a new welded-together plastic sewer system that will never ever leak again," Warren told the packed hall.

The project is currently awaiting approval from the state.

Some Swifts Beach residents were concerned about being "guinea pigs" for the replacement, which Warren said would be the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Sewer Commission Chair Bernard Pigeon said to have even gotten this far, the plan had to go through a long approval process.

Warren said he and his team have been treating the plan like a "nuclear project," and that he has invested $2 million of his own money into it.

"I would have never put the kind of money up that I did," he said, "if I didn't absolutely believe this was going to work."

The repairs are necessary because the sewer line under Wankinquoah Avenue collapsed in 2016. In response, the town made plans to replace the gravity sewer system with an electronic low-pressure system.

This would have required 130 homeowners to purchase sewage-grinding pumps, which could have cost them anywhere from $400 to $4,000. Residents were not satisfied and wanted other options.

At its meeting on Thursday, May 4, the Sewer Commission canceled the original contract for the project that would have resulted in the installation of the pumps.

Warren said residents would have to choose between either his plan or the grinder pumps.

The plan is to insert a new pipe into the old sewer pipe, which extends 289 feet between two manholes.

The old pipe has asbestos. If removed, it would have to be shipped to Idaho for disposal, at an exorbitant cost to the town.

Therefore, only 30 of the 289 feet would be dug up and sent to Idaho.

As a solution for the remaining pipe, Warren demonstrated a resin that can seal anything that tries to escape, including asbestos.

When the resin reacts with water, Warren said, it "basically explode[s] and turn[s] into a plastic very, very, very quickly."

He and his team have been conducting experiments to demonstrate the plan's potential to the state. He passed around some of these example pipes for Swifts Beach residents to see.

One of the pipes had small curved lines peeking out of the opening where the pipe was cut. Warren said these were fragments of a lightbulb, showing the resin's ability to capture even the smallest materials.

Prior to the work on the old pipe, a new pipe would be inserted four feet above the old pipe at an angle.

"We're not going to abandon that asbestos pipe down below," Warren said. "We're going to use this new process to split it, spread it and put a brand new pipe in."

There would be new pipe connections going to each of the properties between the two manholes.

Due to the asbestos, Warren said homeowners should consider hiring someone to wrap the pipes that lead up from under their homes before the EPA forces them to do so.

Warren anticipates that once it starts, the project would be completed in three weeks — if National Grid can locate and replace the gas line in that time.

Warren said that during construction, no resident would lose access to the sewer system or water. However, regular traffic on Wankinquoah Avenue would be blocked off and only emergency vehicles would be able to pass during construction. The new road would be paved in the fall.