AUSABLE FORKS - The towns of Jay and Black Brook will shut off water service for several hours Thursday so workers can replace water mains destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene.
Jay town Clerk Susan Richards said Tuesday the water source for AuSable Forks will be out of service from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday for emergency repairs. Residents can pick up bottled water from either town office if needed, she added.
Chris Garrow, superintendent of Jay's Department of Public Works, told the Enterprise the water main for both townships was destroyed during the Aug. 28 storm. He said crews placed a cofferdam in the AuSable River, just below School Lane, and will begin digging across the river today.
"I'm putting a building in across the bridge," Garrow explained. "All the valves for the water mains will go into the building, and I have to tie into the water main."
According to Garrow, crews will install 10-inch piping that will connect to the new meter building.
"It's one of the major steps to get this thing ready to go," Garrow said.
During a tour of flood damage with U.S. Rep. Bill Owens last week, Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas said the water main issue was urgent because winter weather is approaching.
But Garrow noted that unseasonably mild temperatures and no snow have been a blessing in disguise.
"I couldn't be happier," he said. "It's going to be a little rough with the rain (today), but I think we're going to be OK."
DPW workers will install two different water mains in the same location, Garrow said. One is a 10-inch line, the other is a 12-inch line; they will serve the towns of Jay and Black Brook.
"We decided to go across in the same spot because it was easier," Garrow said. "We are in a shallow area, so we'll be able to get really deep under the river. We're hoping to be anywhere from 12 to 18 feet deep - quite a ways under."
Garrow said with that kind of depth, the mains should be safe from future flooding.
The town recently received a $1 million loan from the state Environmental Facilities Corporation that will help pay for the project. Douglas said some of those costs could be recouped through reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Garrow said the work may not take the full four hours on Thursday, but he wanted to leave his crews extra time just in case.
Residents in need of drinking water should contact the Jay town offices at 647-2204 or the Black Brook town offices at 647-5411.