This work would mean neighbors must be certain not to use ANY water during the procedure — a period of four to six hours. Prior notice will be given if/when work proceeds.
(Feel free to email me, Justin Whittier, at, with questions.)

For those who were unable to attend yesterday evening’s meeting regarding the sewer situation at the corner of Beckford and River streets, a proposed solution to the ongoing odor problem was discussed.

  • Thank you to Dave Knowlton, Deb Duhamel, City Engineers, and Rebecca Dupont-Coutu of NECE, for willingness to listen and to work with neighbors*

History: there has been a horrendous odor problem for years now emanating from the storm drain at the corner of Beckford and River streets and even infiltrating into nearby homes. Corrective action has been undertaken by the City, but a complete solution has not been achieved.]

As explained yesterday, the City’s best guess as to the source of the problem is that fumes from the sewer line are escaping via cracks/gaps in the superannuated brick-and-mortar structure, and are infiltrating into the adjacent storm-drain line via similar cracks/gaps. The odor then escapes the open storm-water grate. (It may additionally be the case that fumes are able to filter through the ground and stone foundations into neighbors’ cellars.)

The work suggested is an ingenious method of lining the existing brick-and-mortar sewer-line structure. It works a bit like feeding a balloon through the tunnel. The “balloon” is then inflated, contouring exactly to the inner surface. Next, the “balloon” is hardened, affixing it to the surface and creating a new lining. The outlets of residential sewer lines (which feed into this main) are then cut out. This will not involve neighbors, except for the above-mentioned importance of not using water during the work.

There is a question about the logistics of this work. The majority of the sewer along Beckford differs from a short portion near the Beckford/River corner. This may mean the work will be undertaken in two stages.
In any case, efforts will be made to notify and limit inconvenience to neighbors.

Federal Street Neighborhood Association
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