City proposes agreement for soil testing

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shown is a problem site at Westgate Plaza in 2013.

Shown is a problem site at Westgate Plaza in 2013.

The Andalusia City Council on Tuesday approved a proposed agreement between the city, utilities board, and Westgate Development that would allow the city to have soil experts conduct tests on property behind the Westgate Shopping Center.

Mayor Earl Johnson explained that the city wants to hire a soil expert to drill core samples from the property to determine the cause of erosion problems.

“Mr. (John) Tisdale told us to stay off the property,” Johnson said. “We contacted him back in January. Since then, he has gotten an attorney and they have added some lines to an agreement I proposed.”

The problem first came to light in 2013, Johnson said. After heavy rains, there was slippage at the back slope of Westgate, and a water main broke.

“It was actually impossible to tell if water main washed soil away, or the soil washed away and the water main broke,” he said.

The city repaired the damage and moved the water main, the mayor said. However, there were more problems in December of 2015, when the area again experienced heavy rains.

“If we are responsible, we are going to take responsibility,” Johnson said. “Because of the way ownership is of the water and sewerage lines, this requires both council and utilities board agreement.”

Johnson said it is important that the cause is determined.

“We don’t want to do what we did before and three or four years later, have to do it all over again,” he said.