Residents in the Town of Stonewall have been concerned since the beginning of April after a problem with the sewer line was discovered. When town workers went to fix what they thought was a routine problem, they found that it was much more than that.
“On April 1, my sewer man got a report of a sewer stopped up on Ponderosa. That happens on Ponderosa Drive probably once a year, and the first thing they do is take a sewage machine and blow it out,” expressed Mayor Jerry Rich. “When they were called Thursday, they went over there and tried to blow it out, but they could not clean it out. On Friday, they went back over there to pick it up and see what the problem was. When they got down to the sewer line, it was cracked in several places. It’s old concrete filled with pipes that are fitted together, and they got loose, which we didn’t know. When they were in the process of digging, they had to get out of the hole because ground water started coming in pretty fast.”
The town received multiple concerns about the large hole where the road was dug up being filled with sewage water, so a professional was called in to assess it.
“A lot of people complained that it was sewer water, so that Monday we got an engineer and contractor here to look at it. They decided that the water in there was not sewer water; it was ground water,” declared Mayor Rich. “The contractor opened the manhole and said that it’s flowing well. It’s not draining into the pipe. Mike jumped on it and got ahold of the state and is sending them reports. We’re on top of it.”
Each day, Mike Robinson, the Water and Wastewater Operator for Stonewall, checks the hole and completes paperwork to send to the state. He had called the state as soon as it happened, and the state has been working with the town to address the issue from the beginning. They already know what needs to be done to help fix the problem.
“We’re looking at 20,000 feet of inlay on that sewer line over on Ponderosa. We’re already on top of it. I want the people to know that we are not lagging around here,” explained Mayor Rich. “The hole is still open. The guys are watching it and keeping it pumped out. They’re pumping the water into the manhole. The only inconvenience is that the people cannot use that little section of street, but there are different ways for people to get to their houses.”
Although wet weather conditions are making it difficult for them, the crews in Stonewall are doing everything they can to make sure that everything is okay around the site. Mike Robinson and some other town workers constantly keep an eye on it to make sure the water doesn’t get too high, and they are thrilled that a contractor should be able to come and offer assistance this week with some equipment the town doesn’t have.
“We’re working diligently trying to get this thing fixed. The contractor is supposed to come this week and set up a well point. This is a big deal: the well point,” expressed Mike. “They’ll come in with section of pipe and dig in the ground all around the hole, and it’ll pull water continuously 24 hours a day until it is dry enough for them to be able to get down in there and dig the sewer line that’s there and replace it with a new one. They can’t do it now because the ground is too wet, and it’s unsafe for us.”
The repairs will cost a great deal of money, but the town is fortunate to have received a grant that can help cover the cost. In fact, the issue was presented to the Board of Aldermen at the monthly meeting on Tuesday, and they have taken the necessary steps to have the money released to them early for that particular project.
“We got a sewer grant in January. This grant included that area, so we’re lucky,” stated Mayor Rich. “I brought it to the board meeting Tuesday night, and we drew up an emergency resolution to name it as an emergency. We sent it to the state and are hoping the state will draw the money from the grant before getting the grant so we can work on it.”
The town has placed a barrier around the area for protection and has been taking all the precautions they can to make sure that there are no changes to the situation. They will continue to work with the state on the issue, and other than the slight inconvenience, residents should have nothing to worry about.