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Damaged sewer line above Nolan Creek could crack open

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013 4:30 am

NOLANVILLE — The aerial sewer line that runs above Nolan Creek near Pecan Village Mobile Home Park is a “ticking time bomb.”

A storm that ripped through Central Texas on Oct. 26, coupled with a collision with an oak tree, caused a crack in the concrete block that encases the sewer line, creating an emergency situation for Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3.

“All the circumstances lined up for that big bad oak tree to come barreling down the creek and hit it just right,” said Trae Sutton, an engineer with Kasberg, Patrick and Associates, about the line that was built in the 1960s. “That tree acted like a battering ram. ... All we need now is another big rain event like the one we had a week ago to finish the job.”

Sutton made a proposal to water district board members to redesign and eliminate the aerial crossing by boring underneath the creek, putting in a lift station and conducting flow monitoring.

“That sewer line should have never been done that way in the first place,” said board member Rick Williams. “I’m all about doing it once and doing it right.”

Board members agreed with Williams and approved Sutton’s proposal, which he will detail at their next meeting.

Currently, although cracked, water is flowing and the sewer line is not leaking, but it is a major concern for board member Carolyn Sterling, who worries about contributing waste to the already polluted creek.

“We’ve never had an issue before and I don’t want to start a precedent of spills into the creek now,” she said.

In the event of a leak, Sutton said there is an emergency plan to pump sewage through a manhole and haul it to the plant.

“If the sewer line fails, yes, it will leak into the creek,” Sutton said. “The only way to avoid that scenario is to put in a permanent solution versus something temporary.”

Sutton told board members the cost of the permanent fix is between $650,000 and $800,000.

The district will meet again at 5 p.m. Nov. 18 at 303 N. Main St., Nolanville.

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