For weeks area drivers and residents have been asking about the work that is being done along Cimarron and Saratoga here on the city’s south side. City officials have been largely silent about the work and when you talk to the city you quickly learn that it is just another thing city officials would just rather keep quietly hidden and out of sight.
After weeks of sending emails and making calls to the city The Southside Light News finally learned that the project is part of a repair job on a busted clay pipe that ferried wastewater beneath the street.
A memo shows that the on June 8th, the city became aware of a clay pipe that had significant damage beneath the street. They said that the situation, if not immediately fixed could result in a catastrophic failure. But according to residents and a complaint filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the damage may have already been done.
In the TCEQ complaint records show that at least two family pets may have died as result of accidentally consuming the wastewater from the ruptured pipe. The city, in all of their usual glory decided to do what the city does and ignore the problem until they were confronted by TCEQ.
The complaint form from TCEQ shows that it was filed on June 1, 2020 and was sent to the city on June 2nd. It was not until June 8th that city officials decided to act on the complaint.
After the city was notified of the complaint they began to look into the matter on June 8th. It was not until June 17th that a memo was sent to City Manager Peter Zanoni about the issue. The memo, issued by Jeff Edmunds, Director of Engineering Services for the City never mentions the TCEQ complaint directly and only lightly mentions that if the repairs are not completed, it could possibly result in TCEQ violations. However, he does elude to certain facts that were mentioned in the complaint. In fact, the memo makes it seem as if the city found this during routine inspections. From what The Southside Light News has been able to gather, there were no scheduled inspections for the location.
Over the past month, The Southside Light News had reached out to city officials to attempt to figure out what they issue was and get an update on the project? To date, we have never heard back from the city regarding this project. We also sent an inquiry again on Saturday to Mayor McComb, City Manager Peter Zanoni and Councilman Gil Hernandez regarding the project. That email has not yet been responded to either.
According to the project memo the cost of the project was expected to be less than $500,000. However, after nearly three months of work on the project one has to wonder if that number has been exceeded? The city will likely not answer that question either.
Since the city has not acknowledged the problem or the project in public, there is also no indication as to when the project might actually be finished. It seems that this is just another project and mistake that has left city residents hanging. It seems par for the course.
Matt Pierce Briscoe filed this report on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 21:47 pm CDT.