A major and immediate problem for the city of Meridian is sinkholes, caused by rushing water. Recent heavy rains emphasized the growing problem.
"We are inspecting the entire city to find out where the difficulties are and we're finding more and more every day," said Meridian's chief administrative officer, Ken Storms. "Day before yesterday, we had two more streets start to cave in."
One of them is 24th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. The pipes under the street are plain to see and the danger of further collapse is inescapable.
"Years ago around 1938, I think, it was said in the paperwork this drainage structure was created by the city of Meridian," said Storms. Back in those days they didn't know about easements, didn't know about right of way, didn't get those things. Didn't worry about it. Put it in the ground, going to last forever. Well, they didn't."
One of the collapses on private property occurred in Mayor Smith's backyard on 26th Avenue and 9th Street.
The city council passed an enabling ordinance Tuesday that permits the city to repair city-installed drainage pipes under private as well as public property. As for drainage ditches, Storms said the city is investigating a new way to cure its problems.
"We're going to be able in the future to see these drainage basins become something that helps beautify our community and set it apart as opposed to being a snake-infested, rat-infested overgrown mess of a garbage collector," Storms said.
Storms did not reveal details but said it and sinkhole repair could be expensive. "But I don't think you can shirk that responsibility or accountability," he said.
The city has now closed 24th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets, in order for public works crews to repair a storm drain and sanitary sewer.
Street Division head Greer Goldman estimates the street will be closed for four to five days in order for repairs to be made.
Drivers may want to avoid the area to save themselves inconvenience during that time.
Flood Sanitation and Hygiene
- Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected.
- Wash hands before preparing or eating food; after toilet use; after participating in flood cleanup activities; and after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.
- Flood waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, and agricultural and industrial byproducts.
- Although skin contact with flood water does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is some risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with flood water.
- If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to flood water, keep them as clean as possible by washing well with soap to control infection.
- If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
- Parents need to help children avoid waterborne illness.
- Do not allow children to play in flood water areas, wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with flood-water contaminated toys that have not been disinfected.
- You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.
Source: www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) contributed to this report.