City Reacts Quickly to Water Main Break on Sagamore Avenue

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino said the broken underground pipe that caused torrents of water to roll down Sagamore Avenue Saturday morning has been fully repaired.

“Everything is back to normal,” said Ambrosino. “Our contractors were on the scene and the pipe was fixed by the end of the day.”

A vehicle parked on Sagamore Avenue as water from the broken underground pipe rushes down the street.
DPW workers on scene during emergency operations in front of the home at 56 Sagamore Ave.

Sagamore Avenue residents awoke Saturday to see their street inundated with water gushing from the broken pipe located between Cheever and Murray Streets. Chelsea Police and Chelsea Fire personnel arrived on the scene, with police officers setting up a roadblock to allow emergency crews unimpeded access to dig up the street and repair the pipe.

City Engineer Louis Mammolette explained the cause of the break during an interview on scene.

“The corrosivity of the clay soil underneath Sagamore Avenue is so aggressive that it attacks the ductile iron material that the pipe is constructed of,” said Mammolette. “It actually eats holes in to the underside of the pipe. Once those holes are thin enough that the pressure of the water main inside can push through, it creates a water main break.”

Mammolette said the city manager was notified immediately of the emergency situation.

DPW Commissioner Fidel Maltez and DPW workers combined their efforts with Tufts Construction, the city’s emergency repair contractor, to repair the broken pipe.

Carlos Hernandez, a co-owner of the home at 59 Sagamore Ave., said his basement took on 17 inches of water in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

“I was sleeping this morning when my brother [Edgar, who is a co-owner of the house] called me to tell me about it,” said Hernandez. “When I woke up, I saw a river outside on the street.”

District 1 Councillor Todd Taylor said he rushed back from Plymouth to be on scene and assist his neighbors.

“I was in Plymouth and my phone starting blowing up with messages,” said Taylor. “I got texts from Chief [Brian] Kyes that there was a water main break on Sagamore Avenue. As soon I could, I got out of there and rushed back to Chelsea to see what was going on myself.

“Thank God, it wasn’t as serious as they first thought it was – that’s a good thing,” added Taylor.

The first-year councillor said he will be bringing the repair of the city’s sewer and water systems in to a public forum for discussion.

“We’re going to have to invest money in to fixing this, so we don’t have to a lot pay more later on,” said Taylor. “We have to be pro-active and solve problems where we see them.”

School Committee member Rosemarie Carlisle, a longtime resident of Sagamore Avenue, described the scene as “water, water everywhere.”

“I just want to say thank you to the Chelsea Police and the Chelsea Fire Department who helped some residents on Sagamore Avenue – they were awesome,” said Carlisle.

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