Providence Water began replacing lead pipes in Summit along Fifth Street between Hope and Bayard during the week of Sept. 8. The contractor expected to finish that block today (Monday, Sept. 15) and move to the next block of Fifth. We can expect street blockages through the fall construction season.

According to letters mailed to all rate payers in Summit this month, Providence Water will replace all the lead pipes it owns as far as the curbside shutoff valve outside each house. (You can usually spot the valve as a three-inch iron disk embedded in your sidewalk or grassy strip somewhere between the curb and the inside edge of your sidewalk.) Providence Water promised additional notices 3 weeks, 3 days and 24 hours before construction begins.

Homeowners have the option of replacing the pipes that lead from the valve into their homes at their own expense. The estimated cost could be as much as $6,000 for a house with a porch to tunnel below, according to a Providence Water rep.

Note that some houses in our area already have copper water pipes and need no work.

The contractor I observed today took care to remove a regular square section of sidewalk from a site on Fifth without damaging other sections. He said that a temporary asphalt patch will be followed up with a permanent concrete replacement. He said valve locations vary and can be anywhere between the street and the inside edge of the sidewalk.