Will Mangold came to the Chinook City Council meeting on Thursday night to tell city officials he thought the sewer system stinks.
His complaint was specifically focused on the line that runs in the alley behind his house, between 6th and 7th streets and Indiana and Ohio streets, which he said had backed up twice in the past two years, most recently this summer.
“I have to tell you I never experienced anything so bad in my life, and I have to live there,” Mangold said. “What is the city going to do? Because this will happen again.”
Jim Teel, Chinook’s street supervisor, told Mangold, “I appreciate your patience with all this,” and that he was aware of the problem, and the city is working on it despite a number of complications.
First of all, the line is 15 feet underground. On top of it rests natural gas lines and, more problematically, two Triangle Communications ducts that are surrounded by a loose concrete “slurry” that would most likely collapse if “nothing would support it, and it could knock out fiber communications for the town.”
“(With all the lines down there) it’s like digging in a bowl of spaghetti,” Teel said.
Teel said he was talking with engineers from both Triangle and NorthWestern Energy to figure out how to handle the situation.
There may also be an issue with an old “lantern pipe,” a ceramic tube extending from the surface to the line to check for flow that may have settled down into line and brought debris with it since being put in place decades ago with the original water system. Teel wants to remove it and replace it with a lighter, more durable PVC pipe.
The alleyway itself is quite narrow, and Teel expressed concern about how to dig in the area and what to do with the earth they’d have to move.
Another concern is scheduling, especially with the fast-approaching winter, which would make everything much more difficult.
“With people’s schedules and the impending doom of the weather, all we can do is alleviate the problem,” Teel said.
Still, despite all of these problems, Teel said that the city hopes to fix the problem as soon as they can, possibly by Thanksgiving.