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
Source: www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) contributed to this report.