Blackfoot crews clean up waste water spill

Blackfoot crews clean sewage spill

The city of Blackfoot is still working to clean up the waste water that had poured out into a number of homes on Riverton Road after a sewage line collapsed Monday morning.

Crews are currently draining a 13-foot deep manhole in order to excavate the collapsed pipe. Once that is done, they can finally figure out what caused the collapse in the first place and be able to fix the pipe.

The city's sanitation department expects to know this information by Wednesday morning.

Mayor Mike Virtue said he has never seen an incident of this significance occur in Blackfoot before and the city is working as quickly as possible to mediate the problems it has caused.

"When you're working a system as complex as a waste treatment system, there are obviously at times going to be problems," Virtue said. "It's unfortunate, but it does happen. It's not what happens, but how you respond to it that makes all the difference."

Virtue also said he will do anything and everything he can in order to restore the damages this has done to residents' homes.

"The city is us, so it is our obligation to make sure they are made whole; that we can restore as much as we possibly can the way it was before and that is what we will do," Virtue said.

Today the city's claims adjuster made his way around the neighborhood to assess the damages. Once those claims are sent to the insurance company based in Utah, the city will have an understanding of how much damage was done in respect to financial reparations.

So far, none of the effected residents have had to evacuate their homes, since most of the damage was done in the basements. Nonetheless, many of their personal items left undamaged by the flood have been hauled away in cardboard boxes and oversized, black trash bags to be decontaminated.

Joan Thompson, believed to have had been hit the worst, said much of the damage is irreparable and she lost a significant amount of family heirlooms - all of which were stored in her newly-renovated basement, complete with carpeting and a big screen television.

"I even had a wedding dress down there that I wore, both of my sisters wore, and my daughters wore," Thompson said.

Local News 8's reporter Caleb James spoke with Thompson on Monday as she felt the devastation of the damage. Today, she said she is not doing any better, although she feels comforted by the city's quick and caring response.

Mayor Virtue said most of the water has already been drained from the manhole.

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Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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