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Sinkhole avoided as alert Water Dept. employee discovers water main leak

By Ralph Echtinaw

A sinkhole at the corner of Prospect and Union streets was avoided Sunday after Water Department employee Greg Austin noticed water coming out of the road.

Austin was making his usual rounds at the wastewater treatment plant when he noticed water where it shouldn’t be, said DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott.

An emergency Miss Dig locate request was called in. After three hours had passed and the locator hadn’t arrived, Miss Dig was called again and a second request ticket was sent to the locator. That ticket also expired after three more hours and Miss Dig was called a third time. 

After Miss Dig investigated with the locating company it was discovered that the locator receiving the tickets had been loaned to Texas to help with a weather disaster there. 

At this point another locator was dispatched and marked the water leak area. “If we waited, the intersection could have washed out and created a big sinkhole,” Abbott said.

Brian Henderson of the Water Department and Tom Jungnitsch of the DPW turned out to help Austin cut a hole in the pavement, dig up the water line and put a clamp on it.

The pavement will be replaced after the asphalt plant opens in the spring.

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