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Pumps remain as Turners tries  to handle sewer line failure

Recorder/Paul Franz
Two portable pumps move sewage around a collapsed sewer line at the entrance to the Airport Industrial Park in Montague.

Recorder/Paul Franz Two portable pumps move sewage around a collapsed sewer line at the entrance to the Airport Industrial Park in Montague.

TURNERS FALLS — The pumps set up at the Millers Falls Road entrance to the industrial park are likely to remain a little longer as the town works out how to handle the failure of a sewer line under the road.

Robert Trombley, Water Pollution Control Facility superintendent, described a parade of sewer line problems in the area, culminating in the apparent collapse, rupture or similarly stubborn blockage of all or a part of a 350-foot section beginning in the Industrial Boulevard intersection and running west along Millers Falls Road.

Trombley said the main in front of the Franklin County Technical School on Industrial Boulevard broke three times since the 19th and was repaired by his department and the Highway Department.

Last Thursday, Trombley said the Highway Department noticed sewage coming out of a manhole by the Hallmark School of Photography, well down the road from the school and near the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and Millers Falls Road.

Investigation led to two attempts to clear the line, Trombley said, but the highway department and Greenfield jet rod trucks were unsuccessful, as was the company subsequently called in.

Like the two town trucks, the company’s jet rod equipment got stuck, and the truck itself began to sink when two sinkholes opened up in the sandy soil, Trombley said, and the area had to be filled in to prevent the force of passing tractor-trailers from further undermining the road.

Trombley said the pumps now set up in the road are diverting flow around the blockage, septage haulers are serving some other businesses on the line and the town engineers were visiting Tuesday for a first look.

What the solution will be and how much it will cost are unknown, Trombley said, but he estimated it will cost in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.

“My sense of it is we’re talking all of at least a month before we can do a permanent fix, if not longer, but that is not known,” Trombley said.

Trombley said the situation is stabilized and the risk of backup reduced for the time being, but pump rental and septage haulers cost money and he hopes to have the problem fixed as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Trombley said service has not been interrupted and the nearby businesses and trailer park can operate as usual, including to the Airport Industrial Park’s two larger wastewater contributors, ConAgra Foods and the Australis fish farm.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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