Hingham: Fire Chief and residents put Aquarian Water on hot seat for Union Street water woes

Union Street residents and Hingham Fire Chief Mark Duff lashed out at Hingham’s water provider Aquarian Water Company at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night, over the way the company handled recent water main breaks on Union Street.

Union Street residents have suffered through seven water main breaks over the last year and are angry about the way Aquarian handled another break two weeks ago, early on Sunday morning.

They said the company didn’t notify them about the breaks and they had to wait from early morning until about 9 o’clock that night, before they got their water back.

But the residents aren’t the only ones fired up – so is Hingham Fire Chief Mark Duff – who says Aquarian didn’t even notify the fire department about the breaks, which created a dangerous situation.

Duff said, “It just takes that one time, when you hook into a hydrant and there’s no water in it – it’s a shock! It just can’t happen. But I’m sure we’ll work with Mr. Hibbard and the water company and I’m sure they got the message tonight, that this needs to be improved and changed.”

Although he apologized to residents, Aquarian Vice President of Operations Harry Hibbard says the company doesn’t have enough funds in their capital budget, to make the expensive improvements that are truly needed on Union Street.

“We have to prioritize our capital investment. We have capital investment in the plant, sources and supply, pumps and pipes. So we have to prioritize what projects to do based on which need it the most. Union Street is our highest priority. I sincerely apologize to the folks who have lost their water so frequently. I’d be angry if I were them too. I totally understand it,” Hibbard said.

Aquarian has been patching the mains as the breaks occur and said they are working diligently, to locate the source of the problem.

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.