Last summer, a polypig got stuck in the water main between the Churchtown reservoir and the water treatment plant in Hudson, causing a water emergency in the city. Efforts at the time managed to restore water flow, but today, Rob Perry, superintendent of Public Works, reports the final chapter in the story. His report, which recounts the entire saga of the polypig, follows:
In June, the Hudson Water Department undertook annual pipe cleaning of the raw water transmission main that brings water from the Churchtown reservoir to the City of Hudson Water Treatment Plant. During this operation, something unprecedented happened: the polypog did not surface in its designated location in Claverack. Several attempts to redirect flow were made to move the polypig toward its intended destination but to no avail.
The Water Department enlisted the aid of the Town of Greenport to use their camera to inspect the water main. Additionally, the Water Department excavated an alternate location to conduct further investigation. A private contractor with greater camera capabilities was also employed. None of these attempts either produced the polypig or gave us any indication of where it could be.
Over the next two days, the Water Department utilized "swabs" and tracking devices to either capture the polypig or at least identify its location. Although none of these actions alone produced the desired outcome, collectively they did identify the only logical place the polypig could be: lodged in a 16" x 16" "T" at the Claverack pump station. As tank level in the finished water tank was approaching dangerously low levels, the search for the polypig was suspended and raw water flow was restored to the treatment plant.
The requisite parts were ordered to replace the pipe and fittings at the "T," however global supply chain constraints delayed delivery of some components until August and others until December 2021.
It was our intention to excavate, remove the "T" (with polypig), replace with a new "T," gate valve, and fittings in Spring 2022. However, extreme cold temperatures have resulted in municipal and private infrastructure failures, which in turn have increased demand. Given the partial obstruction of the transmission main by the polypig, it was a challenge to produce additional volume.
With all requisite components on hand and long-term forecast of very cold weather to continue, the decision was made to excavate now.
Commencing this past Monday and continuing for three days, the Water Department, with a private contractor, excavated the location of the existing "T" over 20' below ground elevation at the Claverack pump station.
With all replacement pieces on site and preassembled, the water plant was taken offline and the "T" was removed.
With the polypig and damaged components removed, the replacement pieces underwent final assembly and were installed.
Raw water flow was restored to the plant shortly after, and normal operations resumed Thursday afternoon.
From an operational perspective, this project is complete. All that remains is site restoration and final cleanup.