Water Main Break Downtown

Derry Public Works Director Mike Fowler praised the quick work accomplished by members of the Town Water Division in addressing a water main break at East Broadway and Manning Street in the heart of downtown on Wednesday, July 29.

With only a few businesses left without water and traffic minimally re-routed, Fowler said the interruption was contained to the Manning/Railroad Street area of East Broadway and everything was back to normal in less than 12 hours.

“It was a significant water main break,” Fowler said. “The break was to the oldest water main in Derry, an 1890 cast iron pipe. The pipe is basically in good shape but right there it was laid on ledge and sometimes you have a settlement that puts an unexpected stress on the pipe, which is what happened and it cracked.”

The pipe is a 10-inch main.

“Some businesses and people in the area experienced low water pressure and possibly some brown water, but there were only 20 or so businesses in the immediate area that were actually without water, and that was contained in the Manning and Railroad streets area.
There was no town-wide issue.”

Fowler said the Derry Fire Department at 6:20 a.m. reported a lot of water at the Manning Street-East Broadway intersection and Public Works employees heading to work at that time reported the spill as well. He said Highway Department and Water Division employees were on scene and at work by 6:30 a.m. and had the water main shut down so repairs could be made.

Fowler said the pipe repair was completed by 1:30 p.m. and the backfill and re-paving were completed by 3 p.m., with everything back to normal by 5 p.m.

“The Water Division crews did a great job,” Fowler said. “They are experienced and ready to do what needs to be done immediately. We haven’t had that many water main breaks but over the years these people have learned what needs to be done and how to do it, so that the disruption was less than 12 hours, which is really very good.”