City Crew Working To Repair Broken Sewer Line

A sewage line burst near United Dairy in Martins Ferry last week, leaving a stinky mess for city workers to remedy.

Work to fix the line was still under way Friday, as orange traffic barrels and caution tape surrounded a large gaping hole, filled with water, in the street that was created to gain access to the line.

City Service Director Chuck Bennett said the exact cause of the broken 8- or 10-inch line has not been determined, but there are a few different possibilities.

Bennett said at least 20 feet of line became clogged with dirt and gravel, possibly caused by it not being capped off years ago when houses in the area were torn down.

“We’re not sure whether the line is clogged or collapsed or it’s from a lateral line from an old building that used to be there – it could be a combination of several things,” he said.

Bennett said his workers had to stop work on the line to dig a grave at the city-maintained Riverview Cemetery in preparation for a funeral the next day.

And with workers taking vacations, that leaves two men for all the jobs on his list at the moment – including the sewer line.

“They do the streets, the sewer and they dig the graves,” Bennett said of the service employees.

Repairs to the suction truck also are expected to be made by Monday to allow workers to remove dirty water from the hole.

Bennett said problems with sewer line were discovered either last week after United Dairy complained about having slow sewage service.

“The dairy said its line wasn’t flowing good and our manhole was about filled up,” he said.

Workers also must continue to look out for gas lines that are unmarked.

“It’s moving slightly. … we’ll start digging. It’s not a fast process unfortunately,” he said.