Westfield sees increase in water main breaks

Western Mass News is getting answers from city officials about what is causing pipes to break.
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Recent water main breaks in Westfield have left several people in the community without water for hours.

Western Mass News is getting answers from city officials about what is causing pipes to break.

Last week, the city of Westfield had two water main breaks – one on City View Road and the other on Bancroft Street.

Western Mass News is digging deeper to learn more about the situation.

We reached out to Francis Cain, Director of the Westfield Public Works Department, who explained what is happening with the pipes.

“It’s primarily the older pipes that have a problem, especially,” Cain told us. “It can be weather related, it could be construction in the area, it can be valves manipulated sometimes in proximity. That has caused pipes to fail.”

Cain told us that these types of breaks are common in western Massachusetts.

“The surrounding communities, they are all the same age. They all have the same infrastructure, all kind of put in at the same time, so that’s not unusual, especially in New England, the old pipes, Cain explained. “I mean, the one on City View, that we just mentioned, that one is maybe a hundred-plus years old.”

As for replacing the system of pipes, Cain said it is costly and there are no plans to do so at this time, so they are left with patching the breaks, which impacts many homes at a time.

“You’re dealing with old valves, and you might have to spread out and the valves that you shut to isolate have to have water shut down because you can’t work on it with water coming out of the pipe,” Cain said. “It affects a greater area.”

He also pointed out that people are usually prepared for when they might lose their electricity, but when there is a water main break, residents can be without water for 6-8 hours. People should prepare by having extra bottles of water on hand.