Irrigation system failure has much of Meriden Green looking ‘browned out’ 

Irrigation system failure has much of Meriden Green looking ‘browned out’ 

reporter photo

MERIDEN — The City Council recently authorized $50,000 to fix an irrigation pipe at the Meriden Green. 

The pipe failed in mid-June when the city turned on the irrigation system for the first time this year, according to Parks and Recreation Director Chris Bourdon. The system, installed in 2016, has since been unable to water the grass, turning the Meriden Green brown. 

“It went from looking like a golf fairway in May to looking quite browned out in July,” Bourdon said. 

The city has hired a contractor and hopes to have it fixed this week. Bourdon said it’s been frustrating for his staff because the “perception is we’re not doing our job but we just can't get water.”

“We'll have to water it quite a bit, but we’ll get the grass back the way it should be,” Bourdon said.

The council approved a transfer of $50,0000 out of contingency to pay for the repair. Bourdon expects it to cost “considerably less.”

A resolution passed by the council states “the city will continue to pursue any claim against the warranty of workmanship in an effort to recover the costs.” Bourdon, however, said “there really is no warranty” for the system. 

“This is just one of these things we have to fix so it won't happen again and move forward,” Bourdon said. 

Any funds left over from the pipe repair will be returned to contingency.

Hard to access

The pipe failure occurred about eight feet underground beneath the mechanical room that controls the irrigation system. The mechanical room is located beneath the Silver City Bridge on the Pratt Street side. The failure occurred to the pipe that extends from the control room to the irrigation system. 

The city doesn’t know for sure what caused the problem, but Bourdon theorized that the section of pipe failed from the pressure of turning on the system for the first time this year. Normally the city turns the system on for the first time in May, but turned it on later this year due to higher levels of rainfall in May. Because the pipe is so far underground, Bourdon doubts that freezing water it to burst over the winter. 

The city had not experienced issues with the irrigation system since the Meriden Green opened in 2016. 

The Green was constructed as a flood control project, but the prominent downtown area also doubles as a park and event area. The Green is often held up by city officials as one of the city’s most valued attractions. 

Bourdon said it has taken more time to fix the pipe because the area where it occurred is hard to access and will require digging. 

City Manager Tim Coon and Public Utilities Director Richard Meskill couldn’t be reached for comment.
Twitter: @MatthewZabierek