Marion asks excavator to pay for pipe patch
The City of Marion will ask Mears Co. to cover the $500 cost of a pipe patch city workers installed last week after Mears excavators ruptured it while installing an Atmos Energy gas line at 3rd and Williams Sts.
Last week’s newspaper quoted Mears workers as saying the ruptured pipe was 10 feet from where it had been marked.
In fact, there were markings for a water main 10 feet away, but those were for a separate main.
The markings Mears relied upon were actually 3½ feet off and corresponded not to the pipe that was ruptured but to a third, abandoned pipe running parallel to it, city administrator Roger Holter confirmed Friday.
Precautionary marking of underground pipes before excavation typically is expected to be within two feet of a pipe’s actual location.
During the second of two sometimes heated discussions Friday in which the newspaper was accused of “lying,” Holter joined two newspaper staff members who had been examining the site in an attempt to verify the accuracy of comments made by Mears workers on deadline.
Holter pointed out the still-visible pipe patch and a blue line 3½ feet west of the patch, which he said actually marked an abandoned main. No markings were present for the main that was ruptured.
Holter verified that Mears workers had told him they navigated their bore to below what they thought was the water main 3½ feet away, then directed it upward to avoid another obstacle but ended up hitting the actual water main, which was at a depth in between that of the obstacle and a storm sewer.
The other water main markings in the area ran roughly parallel to the path Mears had been boring but veered to the south about 10 feet before where the main was ruptured.
Underground pipes and cables in the area are among the most congested in the city.
Examination of the still-excavated site of the leak, which disrupted water service to much of the city, indicates extreme precision would be needed to navigate any bore without striking pipes or severing concrete sections that might crush them.