DURHAM — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently presented an update on the Durham-Middletown water project, which will provide a new drinking supply for the residences and businesses within the Durham Meadows Superfund Site.
The Superfund Site encompasses an area along Route 17 in Durham and includes 54 properties. The EPA completed removal of contamination in the soil at the former Merriam Manufacturing Company in 2012.
Since the project commenced in September 2019, almost 30,000 feet of water main has been installed along Talcott Lane, Maple Avenue, Maiden Lane, and Pickett Lane in Durham. Only one short section of Maiden Lane remains incomplete.
The clean water will be stored and brought from a 790,000-gallon water tank in Middletown that is projected to be fully operational by September 2021. So far, the tank’s concrete structure has been completed.
“All dates are estimates,” said EPA Project Manager Edward Hathaway. “Work sequencing and the actual dates for activities might be earlier or later depending on the construction progress, unanticipated conditions, and potential COVID-19 restrictions.”
A total of 57 fire hydrants and 123 curb stops along the entire length of the new water main have also been installed. Fire hydrants will not be functional until the water tank is in service.
Additionally, most water line trenches within the project area have been filled and compacted. That includes Talcott Ridge Drive, Watch Hill Drive in Middletown as well as Route 17 and Route 68 in Durham. Final pavement restorations are scheduled to begin this year.
“We spent a lot of time this fall digging up the top part of the trenches, we widened them, we put down new gravel, compacted it, and put new pavement to make sure we have a good surface on Route 17 long term,” said Hathaway.
Additionally, the pressure reducing vault was installed on Route 17.
Hathaway predicted that all properties within the Durham Meadows Superfund Site will be connected to the clean water by spring. All plumbing work will be performed by a licensed plumber.
Water pipe installation is typically done by excavating a trench from the curb stop to the structure’s entry point. A hole is then drilled through the foundation to bring the water pipe into the house. Afterward, the hole will be sealed and the trench backfilled.
“Once the work is done, any disturbed structures will be repaired, disturbed paving or walkways restored, and the disturbed areas of the property will be properly graded and seeded,” said Hathaway. “If trees, shrubs, or other vegetation are removed or damaged, they would be replaced as appropriate.”
Water connection will likely begin at the southern end of the water line on Route 17 near Old Cemetery Lane and on Maple Avenue near the Durham Fairground.
The property restoration, final roadwork, and paving activities will continue into 2022.
Another public information meeting regarding the project will be held next month. For more information, visit the Durham Meadows Superfund Site at www.epa.gov/superfund/durham