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The Berkeley Community Garden (BCG) at the corner of East Berkeley and Tremont in Boston’s South End provides gardening space during the summer months for seniors and low-income families in the area. In mid-March, the plumbing system for the gardens was vandalized. Thieves stole 21 of 22 watering stations, most likely for their scrap value. The stolen fittings didn’t contain much copper, but their loss meant that the garden would not have a working watering system.

The thefts were covered well in the Boston media and we at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating saw an opportunity to help! We reached out to Ann McQueen, who sits on the Board of Directors of the Boston Natural Areas Network, which the Berkeley Community Garden is part of. Ann let us know that the water lines in the garden would need to be replaced to return the garden to operating condition for the spring.
Once we knew what had to be done, we turned to Tom Blades at FW Webb, Boston’s largest heating, cooling and plumbing supplier, and they donated the materials we needed to repair the vandalism to the BCG’s water lines. We installed new pipe and watering stations, and the garden was back in business! Or so we thought…

The weekend after we installed the new taps, the thieves returned and removed eight stations from the garden. Because the BCG is such a valuable community resource, we have requested a meeting with the Plumbing Board to seek a variance to use plastic piping in the garden, to make the water lines unattractive to thieves and to preserve the BCG as a great local resource.

We’ve posted items about copper theft in Boston the past, but copper remains a very attractive target for thieves. As plumbing, heating and cooling professionals, we’ve seen many copper installations – both commercial and residential – that have been vandalized by scrap metal thieves. It’s natural for thieves to target unoccupied homes and buildings looking for copper, but we’ve also heard reports of thieves stealing the plumbing out of occupied homes!

We’ll keep the blog updated on our request to the Plumbing Board, and on the state of repairs at the Boston Community Garden.

If you need help getting your outdoor plumbing ready for the summer, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 362-0377 , and we’ll be happy to help you get your own garden in order!

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