Important Update from BCWA       (Updated 9/20/19)

Visit the BCWA's website for the latest information on the leak in the water pipeline servicing Warren, Bristol and Barrington. 
The latest public notice can be found below:

September 20, 2019

NEW UPDATE Outside Water Ban for the Weekend Ban in effect Friday 9/20 – Monday 9/23

BCWA announced last week that it is beginning construction work to repair its East Bay pipeline, which is the water main that supplies the BCWA system from the Providence supply. As such, we have switched back to our emergency water supply with the City of East Providence. We are now on a limited water supply. However, we are experiencing unusually high demand due to the lack of rainfall and the warmer fall weather. We are declaring a water ban for the weekend beginning today through Monday 9/23. This is needed to protect the water system’s fire supply and prevent loss of pressure. All outside water usage is banned for this weekend except for hand-held watering cans (such as for use in vegetable and flower gardens). As of Tuesday, 9/24, outdoor water use will be allowed on odd/even days based on street address. (House addresses ending in an odd number can water on odd calendar days; addresses ending in an even number on even days.) Depending on water consumption, we may need to enforce bans throughout the construction period (anticipated to take eight weeks). We ask that customers also conserve indoor water consumptions throughout this time period.

Customers can learn more at or by calling the BCWA Emergency Hotline (401) 245-5071 (after 4 pm) or the Customer Service line (401) 245-2022.

BCWA will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Public Notice 

September 10, 2019
BCWA Pipeline Leak Repair Slated to Begin in September

Contractor bid awarded to fix on-going leak. BCWA will switch back to East Providence water on September 16 with water use reduction requested.

Warren, RI – 9/10/19 – The Bristol County Water Authority (BCWA) has selected a contractor to begin repairs to its East Bay pipeline. The work is moving forward promptly with the first step to occur on Monday, September 16 when BCWA switches to its backup water supply with the City of East Providence.

While no formal water use restrictions will be put into place, BCWA is asking all Bristol, Barrington, and Warren residents and businesses to reduce their water consumption during this time. This is to ensure adequate supply and fire flow protection. Water quality remains safe.

Construction to repair the pipeline leak is slated to begin at the end of this month. The work will be conducted by Biszko Construction Services of Fall River, Mass, which was awarded the bid during BCWA’s Board meeting on September 9. The connection to East Providence water first is needed to allow the leak area to dry before construction begins.

Repair approach The East Bay pipeline leak continues to flow at a constant rate of 400,000 gallons per day. BCWA’s previous hope to use a flexible “Primus” liner to slip-line the pipe and repair the leak could not be implemented. The slip-line will now be performed with a new 18” PVC water main. The PVC pipe is an industry-standard material, but is more rigid than the Primus liner, requiring more construction site work and a longer implementation timeframe.

The PVC pipe will be pulled through the length of the pipeline from East Providence to the Port of Providence. This will essentially create a “pipe within a pipe,” sealing off the two leaks which were discovered at welded joints during a May inspection of the pipeline. The rest of the steel pipeline that was inspected appears to be in excellent condition.

Complicating the repair is also its length – 4,600 feet, which was the longest pipeline of its kind when it was installed in 1998. Subsequently, repairs of this nature are relatively uncommon and require a specialized team of contractors to provide the PVC pipe and conduct the welding, drilling, and installation. Additionally, the land areas on either side of the pipeline require specialty treatment systems for any groundwater removed from the area.

Timeline and budget Biszko will begin construction towards the end of September. Repair of the pipeline is expected to take 8 weeks, barring unexpected findings and inclement weather. BCWA will remain connected to the East Providence supply during the repair. The estimated cost for the project is approximately $3.4 million, including a contingency for unexpected conditions.

Water safety and quality remains high BCWA is routinely monitoring the water supply from the pipeline; the water quality remains excellent. The high pressure inside the pipe forces water out and does not allow any water into the pipe. The water from the City of East Providence is expected to be of the same quality (as it is obtained from the same Providence Water supply). The East Providence connection can supply up to 3.5 million gallons per day, which is equivalent to BCWA’s average daily flow in the fall months.

Continuing updates BCWA remains in communication with tri-town leaders as well as the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) as it evaluates and plans for all possible scenarios. BCWA will continue to provide updates as they become available. Customers can learn more at or by calling the BCWA Emergency Hotline (401) 245-5071 (after 4 pm) or the Customer Service line (401) 245-2022.

From BCWA’s Executive Director and Chief Engineer “We want to again thank our customers for their continued patience as we considered all options to address the East Bay pipeline leak,” said Pamela Marchand, BCWA’s Executive Director and Chief Engineer. “We believe slip-lining the pipeline with a PVC main is our most reliable repair option, and now that we have selected the contractor, we will be moving forward without delay. Switching to our backup supply with the City of East Providence is required, and we will ask all of our customers during this time to be mindful of unnecessary water use.”

About BCWA The Bristol County Water Authority (BCWA) was formed in 1984 by the Rhode Island legislature. In 1986, it began managing the Barrington, Bristol, and Warren water supply system, previously managed by the Bristol County Water Company (BCWC) that traced its origins back to 1883.

Since assuming the responsibility of the region’s water supply, BCWA has made significant investments to maintain and modernize the utility while adapting operational efficiencies. Today, BCWA provides an average of 3 to 3.5 million gallons per day of reliable, quality water to its approximately 17,000 service connections, including its commercial users and 49,875 residents. Learn more at