Craig crews backed up after water line break impacts sewer maintenance |

Craig crews backed up after water line break impacts sewer maintenance

Crews with Anson Excavating repair a water main in the 1000 block of Pershing Street Wednesday, July 24.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

A main sewer line replacement project on Pershing Street hit a major setback after a water main break washed much crews’ hard work down the hill near the Sandrocks.

On Tuesday afternoon, as crews were finishing the sewer line replacement in the 900 and 1000 blocks of Pershing, things went awry on a nearby water line.

“It sprung a big leak,” City Manager Peter Brixius told Craig City Council at their regular meeting Tuesday night. “I don’t know if you saw it today, but it was shooting water 30 or 40 feet up in the air.”

Brixius said old schematics mapping Craig’s underbelly were partly to blame.

“Part of the problem was the schematics we had on those old lines,” Brixius said. “There were three mains in close proximity to each other.”

The water main break caused the city’s new sewer main construction to become partially washed out.

“We hit a water main at the top of the project,” Brixius said describing the top of the hill near Sandrocks. “We were almost done with that project, but it caused significant damage to the trench that was dug for the sewer in the process of being repaired.”

Brixius said sewer backups in the area prompted the $51,707.05 project, but now several claims against the city have been filed as a result of the construction.

“Some of the problems that generated this project were some sewer line backups that’ve occurred in the area,” Brixius said. “There were at least two that’ve actually filed claims. Throughout town, the older sections of town where we have clay pipe, in those seams, we have a tremendous root problem… We could expect a lot of that.”

Brixius told councilors more claims could be coming.

“I hear there’s the possibility we may have three additional claims coming in,” Brixius said.

Pershing Street residents said they have had significant plumbing problems over the years.

“I’ve lived in this house 30 years and I’ve had sewer trouble,” resident Liz Brannan said. “We all have.”

As crews did their best to repair the water main near her home Wednesday, Brannon said she spent more than $3,000 this year to have sewage removed and her line repaired.

“I had sewage in my garage,” Brannon said. “After I had all this work done, it was still backing up.”

Former Craig City Councilman Joe Bird said he came home some two weeks ago to his home near Ninth and Pershing to find his basement flooded. He said he’s spent a few hundred dollars so far getting the water out, but he doesn’t have an estimate from insurance adjustors what the cost of repairs will be.

“We’re still waiting to hear about all that,” Bird said. “The city’s been very good about keeping in contact with me.”

At least one resident said she had no complaints Wednesday. Amanda Tomlinson, whose home was right in front of the busted water main near the top of Sandrocks, said construction crews have been accommodating.

“They’ve been really great, actually,” Tomlinson said. “Always had access to the house, and the water has been on.”

Going forward, Brixius said it’s possible the city will seek the advice of engineers with experience in dealing with issues like Craig’s root problem.

“We may have to have some engineering support to come in and take a look at some of the problems we’ve been having,” Brixius said. “Last year was such a dry year, the roots were looking for water wherever they could find it.”

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