Repairs continue on water main break that impacted Springfield, neighboring communities

It’s been one week since a large water main break impacted much of the city of Springfield and surrounding areas.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 3:07 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s been one week since a large water main break impacted much of the city of Springfield and surrounding areas.

“We’re dealing with over 1,500 feet of massive stream damage. This isn’t, you know, a little erosion here. This is massive stream damage,” said Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli.

Cignoli spoke with Western Mass News one week after an enormous water main break took the city by storm.

“We lost about a foot long culvert and the stream bed itself, as well as a number of pipes that went into that stream due to the massive volume of water that went in there,” Cignoli added.

After evaluating the situation, Cignoli told us the significant storm event we saw last Tuesday, along with the significant amount of rainfall we saw over the summer, is to blame for the break. However, Tuesday’s rain was the final straw as it pelted down over four inches in just two hours.

“When you go out there, there’s just so much sand that, there is just so much water in the soil these days, that over time, it just starts to erode away. It starts to liquify the sand,” Cignoli explained.

Right now, the DPW is mostly focused on clean-up and, as they clear out some of the fallen trees and vegetation, the crews are able to get a better sense of the damage. Cignoli said the cost of repairs will be in the millions and he expects it to take up to two months before they can replace the water main.

“It’s a stream that’s surrounded by Springfield Plaza, by residential buildings where Big Y is, the housing authority, so everything drains in that from different directions, so we have to make sure that those are stable, then we can start building up,” Cignoli added.

Crews still have a long way to go before they can stabilize the area.

“The stream channel is very deep. It’s about 20 feet or so deep due to the volume of water. It just ate back the slopes and now, you’re dealing with something that 60 feet wide. It’s all sand out there, so that stuff’s washing away like crazy,” Cignoli noted.

Cignoli told us that, with all the rain we’ve seen in the past few months, the DPW has had to work on several much smaller water main breaks across the city. However, none of them have been quite as significant.