Tanker trucks delivered water from a Bar Harbor Hydrant to keep the public water system in Southwest Harbor operating in April. The added cost of keeping the system running totaled over $40,000, which is expected to be paid by insurance. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MARK GOOD

Water fix tops $40,000

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Costs associated with a burst supply pipe last month at the water treatment plant here exceed $40,000.

A large pipe bringing water from Long Pond to the treatment plant burst on April 25, shutting down the municipal supply for about five days. To keep customers supplied, the Southwest Harbor Water and Sewer District hired a trucking company to transport water from a hydrant in Bar Harbor to the plant until parts arrived and the problem was fixed.

The bulk of the $40,285 total is related to trucking water to keep the plant in operation. About $22,000 is to be paid to A. Hood & Sons, the trucking company. Two 8,000-gallon tanker trucks made almost continuous round-trips between Bar Harbor and the plant during daylight hours for four days of the shutdown. The bill from the Bar Harbor Water Department is $3,300.

Labor costs total nearly $7,700 and include almost $3,900 in overtime pay for water district employees.

Materials totaled $5,900.

On Tuesday, Town Manager Don Lagrange, who also is a trustee of the water and sewer district, told selectmen that the bills would be submitted to the district’s insurance carrier, Maine Municipal Association. Just after repairs were completed, Steve Kenney, manager of the district, said he expects insurance to cover most of the cost.

The pipe burst inside the plant after the pump transferring water from Long Pond malfunctioned, causing the pressure to spike. Although a cause has not been determined, one theory is that an electric power surge related to a motor vehicle hitting a utility pole led to the issue with the pump’s electronic controls.

During the crisis, customers were asked to reduce their use of the public water system. It appears that customers complied, Kenney said at the time.

About 250,000 gallons are used daily at the end of April and early May. Kenney estimated that customers used about 30 percent less during the emergency.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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