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Street Talk

Each Flush Goes Downtown Then Southbound

Last week one cool, sunny mid-morning I had the pleasure of looking down into our sewer system. My portal to the underground world was an open manhole cover on Calhoun Street. Open because the city’s water and sewer guys had opened it and were running a long orange hose off the back of the sewer line blasting reel truck. I noticed, via a sticker on the back of the truck, the clogged line blasting hose reel and the whole apparatus was made in Baton Rouge, La. 

No better place to make a crap clearing machine than the source, I thought. You MSU and Ole Miss fans just run with that.

Just a few minutes before my under-the-manhole glimpse, I had my very own Jed Clampett moment. For there on the lawn near the edge of the road, but still on my property, was a spreading expanse of bubbling crude. But it wasn’t Jed’s black gold, it didn’t smell like Texas Tea, Mick wasn’t going to be a millionaire, and for sure no move to California despite owning the requisite old truck. 


Seems the sewer line coming down Haynes Street had a clog. A sewer line, which is not really designed to hold pressure, had burped some discharge out coming from my uphill neighbors.

As they say “Stuff Happen

s” and with your daily flushes it all flows downhill. Well, except when there is a clog. Just imagine the side streets off of Main Street all feeding effluent down the hills into the valley center that is our downtown. Every flush goes downtown and then southbound.

As for my Clampett moment, the water and sewer guys were there in a flash and de-clogged it quick and, with a wet wipe of sorts, the mini eruption was over – as if it never happened. Grass might be greener there this year. Top notch response to a messy situation.  In all this I had a look into the manhole. 

Under the steel rim, the sides and bottom of the hole are made of brick and mortar. The hole is that old, made well before the concrete ones. The new generation is plastic.  Now pity those poor bricks, their life of soaking in your flushed stuff can’t be easy, but it is the mortar that suffers the most with the flow. The sewer system, which in places is pretty old, is slowly getting replaced.

If you drive on Railroad Avenue, notice the sign behind Valley Lumber, it is the project board notice for the center sewer line. This central sewer line runs down the bottom of the Valley, right through the middle of the town, and so will the now almost installed replacement line. Notice on the sign the number of entities involved. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (the CDBG money, Community Development Block Grant), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). Those are just the big guys. The city administration, an engineering firm, a contractor, as well as the city departments all have had a hand in the project.

There was recently a snafu on Main Street in front of the post office, seems the contractor cut the storm water box culvert by mistake. Last city council meeting was a bit tense assigning blame on that. But it will get fixed, and the storm water will run off and hopefully the sewer will flow on down to the not-stinking-anymore lagoons, and I won’t ever have another bubbling crude moment. And every flush will be carefree.

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