Sewer repairs disrupt business briefly

Fri, 06/03/2022 - 5:15pm
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Last fall, routine inspections of sewer pipes on Block Island revealed some new problems: leaking pipes, especially in areas around Bridgegate Square. The leaks weren’t so bad that sewage was leaking out of them, rather groundwater was leaking into them.
The solution? Re-line the pipes with an epoxy-like substance that can be inserted into the old pipes from existing manholes, so no digging or excavation is necessary.
The problem is that inputs to the sewage system would need to be shut down during the period of work, and since the work this week was in Bridgegate Square, many restaurants and businesses were affected.
Business owners were expecting shut-offs on Wednesday and Thursday, for about eight hours each day. But when work actually started, some businesses were told that they would have no sewer service for only part of that time. On Wednesday, efforts were focused on Corn Neck Road, and shifted around the corner to Ocean Avenue on Thursday.
Bill Padien, co-owner of The Old Post Office Bagel Shop, told The Block Island Times that Wednesday was a normal day, but he would have to close on Thursday. “I’d rather it be done now than in July or August because of an emergency,” he said.
The Block Island Grocery was also still in full operation on Wednesday but expecting their sewer line to be off on Thursday. Deli Manager Mike Desmarais told The Times that he has large three-bay sinks that would be stopped up so workers could still wash their hands without water going into the sewer.
Some restaurants simply closed on Wednesday. Even though sewer service resumed around 5 p.m., dinner prep couldn’t be done easily during the afternoon.
Not all of the necessary sewer line repairs were conducted this week. Crews will return, most likely in the fall, to conduct re-lining work in other areas, including on Beach Avenue.