FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shara Dee, Communications Officer, email@example.com, (207) 347-4143
Willard Beach Closed While City Repairs Burst Pipe
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Willard Beach remains closed until further notice while the City of South Portland and contractors work to repair a broken force main pipe near Southern Maine Community College.
The pipe burst on Thursday, at approximately 4:30 PM. At that time, the City activated equipment to bypass the pump station, which greatly reduces the amount of discharge from the broken force main into the ocean. Engineers and other staff from the City’s Water Resource Protection department are working closely with its contractor, Shaw Brothers Construction, to identify and resolve the issue. Shaw Brothers began mobilizing last evening and started excavation this morning. Maine DEP and Maine Healthy Beaches have been notified of the event and will consult the City as the situation resolves.
This past fall, the City invested approximately $300,000 to line the sewer pipes along Willard Beach to reduce the infiltration of sand into the system, which can cause excessive abrasion. Water Resource Protection reports that there is no deferred maintenance on the force main, and that they will be conducting an assessment to identify the source of the problem and any additional measures the City might take to prevent a break in the future.
The City aims to fix the break and re-open the beach as soon as possible, and will only do so once safety testing of the water and beach sand is complete. The beach is expected to be closed at least through Tuesday, June 6. We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation while work crews address the problem. Signage is posted at the beach entrances and rangers and lifeguards from South Portland Parks, Recreation and Waterfront will remind visitors that the beach is closed to the public for all activities while repairs are in progress. The City is also requesting that residents in the Willard Beach area cut back on water usage today (including washing machines, dishwashers, etc.) to reduce the flow to the pump station and broken force main pipe.
The City will provide updates on its social media pages, and asks the community to check there for the latest information.