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Jaffrey: Water main break disrupts service

Jaffrey Department of Public Works employees work to repair a water main break on Stratton Road on Tuesday afternoon.

(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

Jaffrey Department of Public Works employees work to repair a water main break on Stratton Road on Tuesday afternoon. (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

JAFFREY — Residents and business owners may still be experiencing some discoloration in the town’s water supply, after a water main break Tuesday morning on Squantum Road due to a manufacturing defect in the pipe.

The break prompted Jaffrey-Rindge School District administrators to close three of the district’s schools early on Tuesday.

Despite visible discoloration in the water, Town Manager Dave Caron said Wednesday that the town is constantly testing the water’s quality, adding, “It’s safe to use.” Caron said the water system should be completely flushed out and back to normal by late Thursday morning.

According to Caron, the town received a number of calls from residents Tuesday morning about low water pressure. He said Department of Public Works crews were able to quickly locate and isolate the ruptured pipe on Squantum Road — between Stratton Road and Plantation Drive — and began repairs.

Work crews were on scene for approximately six hours replacing the water main. During that time, Caron said water outages were limited to the neighborhood on and around Squantum Road.

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, he said the town had completed repairs to the water main and were in the process of re-energizing the system.

Director of Public Works Randy Heglin said Wednesday that a 12-inch-length cast iron pipe split down the middle, causing the water emergency. The pipe was installed in the 1950s or 1960s, he said.

Caron said he did not know the total cost of repairs, but added that all work was done by town employees during normal business hours.

Jaffrey-Rindge School District released students from three of its schools early that day: Jaffrey Grade School let out at 12:45 p.m., and Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School and Conant High School both closed at noon.

Supt. Jim O’Neill said Wednesday, “We had to send the kids home early because we had no water. In addition, we had to eliminate all afternoon and evening activities because we didn’t know when the water main would be repaired.”

Caron said he spoke with district officials Tuesday morning and alerted them to the break. “I couldn’t give the school any idea when we’d be back to full pressure,” he said of the district’s decision to release students from school early.

With repairs complete Tuesday afternoon, students resumed their normal class schedule Wednesday.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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