Barring any black marks from state inspectors, the town water department expects to bring four new wells online within two weeks, easing season-long supply issues.
But any hoped-for relief from the total ban on outdoor watering figures to be a figurative drop in the bucket.
Public Works Director Chris Gallagher this week said he expects the full water ban to be rescinded once the state approves the new Chestnut Street wells. But because the region is currently experiencing drought conditions, outdoor watering will be limited to hand-held hoses between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., one day a week.
“It will change — the full ban goes away,” he said. “But we will still be restricted.”
That may be small solace to homeowners surveying burned out lawns, wilting vegetable gardens and drooping ornamentals. Fortunately, Gallagher added, cooler temperatures and intermittent rainfall have already improved conditions and could help ease restrictions further.
“The season is changing a little and that will help,” he said.
Providing selectmen with a Tuesday night public works briefing, Gallagher said that water department technicians have been fine-tuning the new wells and treatment facility on Pumping Station Road in anticipation of the Sept. 9 state inspection.
“It was very successful,” he said of a 72-hour test undertaken last week. “The engineer in charge was very happy with how the plan responded.”
When these new wells are activated, Gallagher said the town will be able to pump approximately 4 million gallons a day — nearly doubling current capacity — even though state permits limit Foxboro’s output to 3.16 million gallons a day.
While the water department awaits state approval of the new system upgrades, related efforts are underway to replace under-performing wells off Oak Street, Sprague Road and Cedar Street, the latter situated adjacent to Witch Pond.
In addition, plans are in the works to construct a new, million-gallon storage tank adjacent to an existing 3-million gallon tank atop Dudley Hill, near the Sharon town line.
Gallagher said this will replace capacity lost when the Main Street storage tank was decommissioned several years ago, as well as providing a back-up whenever maintenance is required on the larger tank.
In addition, Gallagher said the highway department is preparing to make significant improvements at three locations:
- East Belcher Road, near the intersection of Spring Street, where the pavement width will be increased from 12 feet (in spots) to 24 feet. Design work will be undertaken this year and the project will be put out to bid next year.
- The existing folk at the junction of East and Cocasset streets, where safety improvements will require the intersection to be redesigned.
- The temporary barriers located where Main Street enters the north side of the Common rotary, which Gallagher pledged would be completed before winter.
“You should see me back here Oct. 13 with a final design,” he told selectmen.
Lastly, Gallagher said he expects the Mechanic Street and Cocasset Street railroad crossings to be rebuilt with permanent concrete aprons during the month of September.
Work crews have already replaced the warning mechanisms with new gated devices, although they have yet to be activated. Work on grade crossings typically takes four days and will be scheduled to start on Thursday mornings in hopes of finishing before the Monday morning commute.