BURRILLVILLE – Residents in Oakland will have access to clean, potable tap water in around six months if all goes as planed, thanks to a $2 million line extension project to the Harrisville water system slated to begin next week.
The project will bring relief to Burrillville residents who were advised to stop drinking their water in October of 2017, when man-made contaminants were discovered.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management later determined that firefighting foam used by the Oakland Mapleville Fire District had caused the contamination, which affected some 55 families and six private well owners once served by the the Oakland Association. Since the discovery, residents have relied on RIDEM to deliver jugs of water, for food preparation, cooking, brushing teeth and drinking.
On Thursday, April 11, officials from design firm Stantec and the association met with residents to lay out details of the project, set to begin on Monday, April 15.
The project will be funded through a loan from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank to the Harrisville Fire District, including connection to the homes and follow-up restoration of affected features such as driveways and gardens.
Contractor D’Ambra Construction will begin the project Monday, installing the water main first along Alice Avenue. Work will move onto Clinton and Remington Avenue during the weeks of April 22 and 29, followed by Owen and Whipple Avenue for the weeks of May 6 through 20. Between May 20 and June 17, they will extend the main along Victory Highway from a location by Marcoux Way to the intersection on Oakland School Street.
Final sections to be extended will include a northern section of Victory Highway just past the intersection, Mill Street and East River Street, with the last area to be installed the week of July 15.
Most of the water extension work will be completed by October, with repaving to be done in spring of 2020.
Erica Lotz, principal for Stantec, noted that the project is set up to include several homes in the area where contamination has not yet been found, but it could be in the future.
“The decision is kind of up to you whether or not you want to connect at this time,” said Lotz. “We have developed the design drawings assuming that everyone will connect.”
Homeowners will have to pick up the cost for final plumbing changes inside of their homes and new customers, Lotz noted, will soon be receiving quarterly water bills from Harrisville.
One resident asked if as the responsible party, the Oakland Mapleville Fire District would be picking up the tab.
Richard Nolan, secretary, treasurer and operator of the Oakland Association responded that it would require legal action.
“As far as I know at this point the DEM has blamed the fire station. It hasn’t been proven,” said Nolan.
Copies of the presentation are available for residents who were unable to attend the meeting. Those who would like to obtain a copy are asked to contact engineering consultant Lotz at Erica.Lotz@stantec.com.