MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 5, 2014

Fort Gibson increases manhole elevation

Move to reduce problems during flooding

FORT GIBSON — One week after flash floods rushed through several areas in Fort Gibson, one resident said she found sewage backing up in her home again.

“On Monday, sewage backed up in my house,” Kyrstin Willey said. “I called DEQ myself.”

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality sent out environmental specialists to assess the situation.

Erin Hatfield, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma DEQ said late last week a complaint was issued about sewage back up at three homes in Fort Gibson.

On Monday and Tuesday environmental specialist visited three locations; 316, 318, and 320 E. South Ave.

“When they went out on Monday, servicing water was no longer sewage,” Hatfield said.

The environmental specialists ran dye tests to help determine what line the sewage was on in the town by trailing the line, Hatfield said.

None of the residents have heard any results from DEQ about the testing.

“No decisions have been finalized in regards to an order or Notice of Violation from DEQ in regards to Fort Gibson,” Hatfield said.

However, a recommendation was sent to the town of Fort Gibson on raising the elevation of the manholes near the three homes on East South Avenue.

The recommendation included putting the manholes on one foot risers.

“The water would be higher before it could go into the manholes,” Hatfield said.

Fort Gibson Mayor Brad Clinkenbeard said the town is in the process of finding solutions for the problem. On Wednesday, town workers were out on East South Avenue putting the new manhole covers in place.

 “We are raising them a minimum of one foot above elevation of South Avenue,” Clinkenbeard said.

The new covers that were installed are around 3 to 5 feet above the ground. Clinkenbeard said he and other town workers had been on-site inspecting the problem.

Willey said the new covers would help, but she plans on making sure she gets her money back for the damage already done to her home.

“I think it will make a difference,” Willey said. “I do have an attorney, and I do plan on getting paid back for all of this.”

Clinkenbeard said no contact has been made to the town manager or town attorney about lawsuits.

In a special meeting of the Fort Gibson Board of Trustees on Thursday a discussion to put in an application for aid from the Muskogee County Hazardous Mitigation Plan was halted when the board found out they were not eligible for funding.

A regular meeting of the board is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday. Clinkenbeard said they would discuss making an application with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management mitigation and recovery for an unspecified project. He hopes to use the funds to purchase the homes on East South Avenue affected by the floods.

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.

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