Providence Water fixing low water pressure in Woodhaven | News |

2022-03-24 03:36:48 By : Ms. Jenny Zhang

Periods of rain. Low 36F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch..

Periods of rain. Low 36F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch.

The defunct pump station on North Elmore Avenue.

The defunct pump station on North Elmore Avenue.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Not long after Steve Pitassi first moved into Woodhaven decades ago, a pump station was installed to help water pressure to the neighborhood. Water pressure stayed consistent for the residents affected, said Pitassi, until a couple of years ago.

“We thought, what’s wrong?” he said. “It was back to what it was when we first moved in prior to the pump station.”

It wasn’t until Pitassi and neighbors recently met with representatives from the Providence Water Supply Board at Mayor Charles Lombardi’s office when they learned that the outdated pump station, which is badly in need of upgrades, had been permanently taken offline.

“We didn’t know it in Woodhaven,” he said, adding that one of his gripes with the PWSB is that they didn’t tell people at first what was going on.

“We haven’t had a problem for years,” he said. “You should notify residents, send a letter to say, ‘hey, we shut it down.’”

Pitassi said the situation was worst early in the morning, when many from this working class neighborhood were taking showers, as well as during the summer when people had their sprinklers on.

“My contention is, I don’t care how you fix it as long as you fix it,” he said of the decision not to fix the pump station. “The residents deserve it.”

The obsolete pump house, which some might recall is located near the site of a controversial former proposed home on a tiny lot that has since been nixed, would likely need $1 million or more in upgrades, and PWSB representatives would rather find other ways to bring increased water capacity to the area.

PWSB staffers have been very responsive leading up to and since that meeting with Lombardi, said Pitassi, who serves as a member of the North Providence Planning Board and has become a sort of de facto spokesman for the neighborhood.

PWSB’s Peter LePage sent out another memo last Friday to Pitassi, to be passed on to neighborhood residents.

Phase one improvements to the Woodhaven service area, as first discussed last year, will begin this week, said LePage, with the PWSB installing a new water main to close a loop on Bicentennial Way. In mid-April, they will be converting a section of water main on Elmore Avenue from low to high to provide an additional feed line to the Woodhaven area, he said. In addition, as part of the phase one contract, the PWSB will be performing needed system improvements on sections of North Elmore Avenue and Esther Drive.

Phase two, if required, would consist of providing an additional water main, or third supply line, from Smithfield Road to feed this area, wrote LePage. Proceeding with the second phase would be dependent on the system performance results from the phase one work.

Lombardi said there was complaint after complaint coming in about low water pressure, and he’s grateful to PWSB representatives both for taking part in meetings and coming up with a solution to the problem. He thanked them for taking over a “failed system” previously run by the East Smithfield Water District and addressing the concern of residents.

The mayor said Ricky Caruolo and Gregg Giasson at Providence Water were very responsive as the town hosted meetings with residents.

Chris Hunter, spokesman for the PWSB, said the company acquired the East Smithfield Water District in 2017, and the Woodhaven area was served through an old and antiquated pumping station.

“This pumping station would have needed a complete rebuild at an estimated cost of over $1 million,” he said.

“Providence Water instead converted this service area over to an existing high pressure water system that is served by our existing Fruit Hill pumping station. To complete this conversion, Providence Water is installing new water mains to provide redundant service mains for this service area, at a cost of approximately $204,000.”

This project, he said, will eliminate the need to build a new pumping station, the perpetual maintenance and electrical cost associated with a pumping station, and ultimately reduce the cost to ratepayers.

Work should be completed by June, according to Hunter.

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