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Poor pipe condition blamed for flooded home

Mechanicsville, MD - On July 7, TheBayNet.com received photos from Cindy Crispell, showing the rising water (pictured right) behind her home, after crews repairing the culvert pipe left the work site Friday afternoon. 

TheBayNet.com talked to an employee of the Department of Public Works who was on site, managing and overseeing the project. When asked what happened, and why the crews left the pipe in a condition that would cause the water to rise on Friday afternoon, the employee said that when they left Friday afternoon, water was flowing well and there was no back up. But when they arrived to the site Monday morning, they were very surprised and concerned about the amount of water that had risen (pictured left).

"We knew something was very wrong this morning when we arrived to the site and saw this water rising," the employee said. 

TheBayNet.com spoke to St. Mary's County Director of Public Works John Deatrick, who explained that they did not realize the severe condition of the pipe. Deatrick explained that the pipe was not able to handle the stress of the construction and it's very possible that that was the final straw for the pipe, thus causing its collapse. The pipes were buried under at least 25 feet of fill, so being able to see the condition of the whole pipe was difficult, according to Deatrick. Additionally, Deatrick informed TheBayNet.com that on Monday, when they arrived to work on the pipes, crews discovered that there was a section of pipe that was not enclosed with a concrete pipe, which led to the degrading condition of the corrugated plastic pipe. 

Deatrick advised that crews will be using an ACP pipe (pictured right) , which is similar to the corrugated plastic pipe that had been used in years past. This type of pipe is the same material that is used to make football players' helmets. Public Works is working with the manufacturer to ensure proper installation and using the correct type of bedding to prevent any kind of breakdown in the pipe. Furthermore, the ACP pipe will be enclosed by a concrete pipe. 

Deatrick also told TheBayNet.com that they were not made aware of the problem (rising waters) until 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, when the county administrator contacted him about the problem. Deatrick asks that citizens call immediately if they see something that doesn't look right or could be a hazard to life and property. TheBayNet.com inquired about a potential completion schedule, but Deatrick said they did not have a schedule, but that Public Works is actively working on one. Deatrick hopes to have a tentative schedule sometime this week.

Read the previous story here. 

Contact Suzzi Copeland at S.Copeland@thebaynet.com 

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