Thursday, February 27, 2014
Workers unclog storm water drains
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Street, Building and Grounds Department has been busy around the city trying to clean out clogged storm water drains.
The workers are removing gravel, sand and mud, as well as other materials, that have settled in drains.
Royce Pegues, with the street department, and his co-worker John Richmond were determined last week to get the drains on South Memphis and Chulahoma Avenue opened. Water backs up into the street corners during heavy downpours.
Pegues said a drain on Craft Street was unclogged a week or so ago and another drain on North Maury Street and Salem Avenue was opened.
A combination of methods are being used to open the drains. Shovels are used to dig out gravel, sand and mud in the curb drains at the corner of the streets. The gutters are being cleaned to stop dirt and debris from washing on into the storm drains. And lots of water is being used to flush out the drains through the use of hoses attached to fire plugs.
The drain at Chulahoma Avenue and South Memphis has been a problem for years, Pegues said. Workers tried about three years ago to use a high pressure hose to clear the drain at that intersection and the hose got stuck and had to be cut off and left in the drain, he said.
Pegues said he was prepared to work all day to get the job done, if necessary. He recently was hired by the board of aldermen to come back on the staff with the street department. Pegues is also a firefighter with the city.
Mark Miller, alderman of Ward 3, said work on Craft Street and Chulahoma and at Market and Gholson is expected to help open the drains that have been been clogged for decades.
“The proof is going to be in the next downpour,” he said. “There was some talk about possible collapsed pipes, but we are not sure if clogs are due to collapsed pipes or roots or debris. I just appreciate them getting out there to see if this works. If not, we will deal with it.”
The downpour Thursday night proved the drains were wide open.
“The street department has been working hard to handle problems with potholes and drains and the citizens have noticed and have let me know they appreciate it,” Alderman Miller said. “I’ve had people call me and tell me.”
Larry Miller, director of streets, buildings and grounds, said the city is working on some of these trouble spots that have caused floodwaters to build up in the streets.
“Anytime you have water standing, it is not good,” he said. “The water penetrates the soil under the streets and can cause other problems. It’s a joint thing between us, the police and the fire departments. It’s taking all of us to clear the debris out. We are finding toys, everything, in the drains.”
Pegues asked that residents pile leaves and limbs up on the grass above the curb for the leaf and brush truck to pick up. If they are left on the gutter at curbside, the leaves blow into the drain openings or are washed there during rains.
Workers spent two hours clearing out the drains at Gholson Avenue and Market Street.
The department was also working with the sweeper truck and vacuum this week and plugging potholes on Van Dorn Avenue, Memphis Street, Salem Avenue and Chesterman Street.
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