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Faulty valve uncovered and quickly replaced on Monday

August 12, 2010
NORTHUMBERLAND — A number of Northumberland homes were without water from about 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. last Monday due to a faulty pipe on Main Street.

The surprise shut down affected homes and businesses from the corner of State and Main Street to the top of Crow Hill.

The town highway department had begun the arduous process of putting in a new sidewalk on Main Street to replace the small section that was basically at street level, when they came across an upright pipe sticking out. After some investigative digging they discovered a rusted, galvanized valve leading into the property of Josh Morrison that was pitted and seeping. After some of the scaly rust was removed the water came rushing through, noted head of the Highway Department Dick Paradis.

It then became an emergency situation to shut off the water for that section and replace the valve, which the town workers did in about an hour flat.

"We didn't want to have to come back here in a year or six months to fix it once the sidewalk was in," said Mr. Paradis explaining why they went ahead to investigate the neglected old pipe.

An unexpected result from the water shutdown was the slew of concerned townspeople that streamlined to the town hall to pay their water bill. About 24, some in pajamas or in a half-showered state, but all frazzled.

"It's not even due until August 25," said Town Clerk Min Kennett. "Shutting off their water would be the last thing we'd do. We'd first send them a letter telling them to pay."

Mrs. Kennett also noted that if it had been a routine shut off such as a flushing out of the fire hydrants then it would have been posted.

Without water the North Country Family Restaurant temporarily shut down their bathrooms, but otherwise there were no snags for the eatery, thanks to a little improvisation.

"We carried five, five-gallon buckets to be filled at a nearby friends house so we could still wash our hands, clean dishes and rinse off vegetables," said restaurant owner Tonya Gibbs.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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