The Commission has three main transmission pipelines that carry water from the Provin Mountain Storage Tanks to the distribution system that delivers water to Springfield and Ludlow as well as Agawam, Longmeadow, and East Longmeadow. The southernmost of these pipelines, a 54 and 48-inch diameter steel main installed in 1928, delivers water to Agawam prior to crossing the Connecticut River. The reliability of this pipeline is vital to providing dependable and uninterrupted water service to the region.
In 2010-2011, emergency improvements were made to a section of the south transmission main under and adjacent to the Connecticut River. The improvements consisted of slip-lining two sections of 36-inch pipe, and cleaning and cement-lining two sections of 48-inch pipe. The final project cost for these repairs was $6.6 million.
While these emergency improvements were ongoing, a leak detection survey, internal inspection, and lab analysis of the transmission main were performed. These studies identified porosity, poor weld quality, and corrosion issues with the circa 1928 pipe.
In November 2012, there was a large rupture in the upper section of the 54-inch south transmission main. In response to the rupture, the Commission performed emergency repairs and initiated the planning process for a full replacement of the six mile long pipeline.
In preparation of the replacement project, the Town of Agawam installed a 24-inch water main and larger connection to the Commission’s middle transmission main to meet their average day demand while the 54 and 48-inch main is shut down for replacement. The Commission also completed a vegetation removal project to clear the path of the pipeline in preparation for construction.
The project was issued for bids in early 2014 and was awarded to Baltazar Contractors, Inc. of Ludlow, MA; construction began in September 2014.
The project consisted of replacing the six mile pipeline from Provin Mountain to the Route 5 rotary as well as the installation of 11 valves, 13 air valve chambers, and 12 drainage areas through multiple wetlands. Construction was completed in three phases. Each phase consisted of installation of a section of pipe and related valves and infrastructure. The section was then pressure tested and disinfected, and went through a series of water quality testing before being brought online. In June of 2016, the final section of new pipeline was brought back into service. The new South Transmission Main is expected to reliably supply water for the next 80 to 100 years.
The project cost is estimated at $24 million.