When a vital sewer force main pipe under the marsh failed at Hampton Beach, Hampton voters rejected a $4.2 million project to replace it in 2017.

Instead, they took the cheapest alternative by making a $180,000 temporary fix into a permanent one even though public works officials warned that another failure would probably occur down the road.

Flash-forward to 2018 and the town is paying the price for that decision.

The pipe in question failed for a second time in March, costing an additional $100,000 to repair, and then a third time in June.

Voters are now being asked to support a $4.9 million sewer pipe replacement project at a special Town Meeting on Aug. 24.

We would urge voters to learn from the past and support this much-needed project.

Voters can weigh in on the article during Monday’s deliberative session which will be held at 7 p.m. in the selectmen’s meeting room.

The pipe in question is one of two main arteries that deliver sewage from Hampton Beach to the wastewater treatment plant.

One of the pipes is made of asbestos concrete and was installed in 1969. The other force main is made of ductile iron and was installed in 1987.

After the third break of the ductile iron pipe, the town took the pipe offline and installed a temporary one.

Had the temporary pipe not been installed, DPW officials said the break had the potential to cause sewage backups, devastating homes and businesses to the point where town officials said the entire beach would have to shut down.

It would have been a huge economic blow and a tourist spot that was once recognized nationally as a five-star beach for water quality would forever have its reputation sullied.

How bad is the pipe?

A report by the engineering firm Weston & Sampson stated the 31-year-old ductile iron pipe was corroded throughout and “should be rehabilitated or replaced immediately.”

Town Manager Fred Welch said the pipe was deteriorating to the point where one “could dismantle it with your bare hands.”

Doing nothing is no longer an option.

The temporary pipe currently in place is an eyesore as it’s visibly laid above ground along Route 101.

It’s also very costly. The temporary pipe cost approximately $60,000 to install and is costing $11,250 per week to rent, town officials have said.

It’s also not smart to have two vital sewer pipes that are the lifeline to the beach buried in the marsh, logistically and environmentally.

The two new force mains will be constructed underground alongside Route 101 which will allow for easier access in the future if there is a break or other issue.

Hampton selectmen said the project is the town’s No. 1 priority. It also has support from the town’s Budget Committee and the Rational Taxpayers of Hampton.

This is obviously not a want. It's vital infrastructure of the town. To adequately handle the wastewater flow from Hampton Beach without backups, it is necessary to have two working force mains.