Geotech engineers looking for answers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2013


So far, no one is quite sure why the earth moved Saturday near Westgate Plaza, but city and utility officials are hoping that geotech engineers who were on the scene Monday can figure it out.

Micah Blair, acting head of the city’s water and sewage departments, explained that there is a utility easement behind the shopping center where a major sewer line is located. The line, he said, removes waste from most of that part of town.

There’s also a six-inch water main there that feeds tenants of the shopping center, he said.

But when a portion of the ground just dropped all utility service was interrupted. Fortunately, city electric manager Jeff Puckett said, the power poles didn’t fall, they just dropped a few feet.

City and utilities workers were on the scene for hours this weekend, installing temporary sewerage lines and a grinder pump, and setting new power poles. Utility services were restored to most of the area by early evening.

Mayor Earl Johnson, who also serves as superintendent of utilities, expressed his appreciation to those employees.

“I am so proud of all the city and Utility Board employees who worked so hard to stop the damage and re-connect utilities to affected property and customers,” he said. “They were really at their best.”