The root of the problem
While city officials work to replace main lines, property owners are responsible for the lateral lines that extend to their buildings.
Such is the case for Dimitry Zhivotovsky and his wife Sharon Bradley, owners of the Whiting Building LLC, whose office complex at 33 Main St., which has been having troubles with plumbing for the last few years. The issues have culminated in the building’s main sewage pipes needing to be replaced.
During the last couple weeks, Zhivotovsky has contracted two plumbing companies, Rooter-Man Plumbing & and Drains and All Drain Services, to try to alleviate plumbing issues. The companies have used snake and water jet systems to clear a blockage, but the water jet system got jammed further down the system, causing damage that now needs to be replaced.
Commuters driving down Main Street have been privy to the work being done on the Whiting Building’s lateral sewage line by Crisp Contracting LLC, who, after securing the permits to open the street, have been working to replace and clear out the complex’s blockage.
“The problem is in the service line to the main, and we are currently chasing it and replacing the pipe as we go,” Crisp Contracting owner Jack Crisp said. With the city infrastructure dating back to around 1893, Crisp said a lot of the pipes probably need to be replaced.
The responsibility for the repairs fall to the property owner. Zhivotovsky reached out to the city, but was told it is a private issue.
“Well, I guess the city has nothing to do here. This is a private thing,” Zhivotovsky said.
Zhivotovsky said he wished city officials would allow his contractors to dig further down to begin with, where he believes the issue is occurring. He believes this would have allowed the repair to be done faster. He said the problems have inconvenienced more than 15 businesses and their clients in the building for no plumbing.
He expressed his gratitude for Crisp and his workers, who he said was the only company willing perform the repairs.
“We were lucky to find Jack Crisp, who was willing to work on the problem,” Zhivotovsky said.
The pipe work, which started at the sidewalk, has slowly encroached further and further into Main Street, at times taking away the two straight lanes of traffic. Crisp said they are working to rectify the issue by digging farther until they reach the problem. This, however, could take them farther into the road.
City officials, while confirming that ordinances state issues on private property are to be addressed by the owner, said infrastructure dates back to the 1800s, so they are working to update the main lines.
“The city knows how old the infrastructure is,” Nashua Division of Public Works spokeswoman Lauren Byers said. “We’re working on updating the main lines. Private owners need to take care of the lateral lines on their property.”