McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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June 20, 2014

Residents mystified by digging

McALESTER — McAlester resident Cheri Avila had a lot of unanswered questions Thursday after she saw heavy equipment and huge, freshly-dug holes outside her and her neighbors’ homes on the 300 block of East Monroe Avenue.

“When I came home, my yard was dug up and several yards on my street were dug up,” she said.

By early Thursday, city of McAlester workers were back on the scene, operating a back-hoe, pumping water, covering holes and performing other tasks.

Still, the reason for the activity remained a mystery to Avila and some other neighborhood residents. Adding to the unanswered questions was yet another hole, also on the 300 block of East Monroe Avenue, with orange piping or tubing protruding from it.

Pursuing the matter, the News-Capital learned it all started with plans to lay a new fiber optic line.

City Operations Supervisor Timmy Don Adams checked into what

happened.

A contractor putting in fiber optic cable had been boring a   horizontal hole to lay an underground cable along East Monroe avenue when the boring equipment hit a three-quarter inch valve that screwed into a city water supply  line, according to City Operations Supervisor Timmy Don Adams.

“When they were boring, they pulled a tap out of a main line,” he said.

That cut off water service to only one residence — but the city had to dig up the now-leaking water line to make the repairs.

With water spewing from the broken water pipe, holes dug for repairs started filling with water —which made it necessary to get a water pump that in turn, streamed the excess water down the street.

Because the three-quarter inch valve had been threaded, workers could not simply screw a new one into place. More elaborate repairs had to be made, according to Adams.

Toward the evening, most of the work had been completed; the hole had been filled and water service restored to the home that had been without it, Adams said in reviewing the situation.

Only one major bit of work remained in place for today —cleaning up the site, said Adams.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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