Ledger Inquirer: Water Works to look into odd leak in middle of the road

April 14, 2013 

We've seen a lot of water leaks here at Inquirer Central over the years. The city has hundreds of miles of water pipes running under it, so it's understandable when one pops a leak.

But the one Concerned Reader Patti Stone called me about last week is a puzzler. Seeping up out of the middle of Larry Drive, a constant flow of water is creating a large wet spot, which one day last week was mixing with seed pods from an overhanging oak and creating a soupy mess.

The woman who called said some neighbors called the Water Works and she's not sure whether anyone from the utility ever came out to investigate.

"It's been going on for months now, and I'm afraid if the ground is

eroding under the street, it could eventually cave in," she said.

Just what we need. Another potential sinkhole.

I have a very good friend whose daughter has an unnatural fear of sinkholes, so I hope young Sara doesn't read this.

It doesn't help that there have been a lot of sinkholes in the news lately. There was the poor guy in Florida whose bedroom was over one. It collapsed, swallowed him up and killed him while his brother stood by helpless.

On the other end of the spectrum, a Baptist church down in Albany had two large sinkholes open up on their property and they just turned them into a retaining pond.

The Lord giveth, as they say.

Anyway, we're sure the nice folks on Larry Drive don't want a retaining pond in the middle of their street. So let's call Cliff Arnett, senior vice president at the Water Works.

"There's no telling what it is. With all the rains we've had, it could be a water main, it could be groundwater, it could be any number of things," Arnett said. "Whatever it is, we'll check on it, and see what we can do. I appreciate you letting us know."

So fret not, Sara. The Water Works is on the case.

Update

Speaking of sinkholes, I checked back with Bob Weathers, owner of Weathers Storage on Ford Drive near St. Marys Road. You will recall that he had a couple of big sinkholes on his property that he believed were the city's responsibility because they were caused by a failed drain pipe that handles rain running off the street.

The city's position was that it's his property, so it's his problem.

Weathers said a few weeks back he was considering suing the city, but has since decided that would be too expensive.

"They know it would cost us too much to go to court," Weathers said. "They have lawyers who will drag things out to the point we couldn't afford it. That's what they're counting on."

Weathers said contractors have said it would cost him about $50,000 to patch the problem up, but close to $300,000 to replace the entire pipe.

Seen something that needs work? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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