DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Six months of sewage slowly crept into Steven Haught’s basement after a sinkhole opened up right by his driveway.
“I looked out, and there was a big hole in the ground,” Haught said. “I mean, it was huge and I called 911.”
The temporary fix accidentally sent sewage up his basement drains. It took months to finally get it stopped.
“It’s a very slow process, and when you’re talking about sewage in your basement you don’t want a slow process,” Haught said.
Unfortunately, preventing sinkholes like this isn’t as easy as digging up one or two pipes. The mayor says the entire system is aging, and it’s going to cost millions to fix that.
Another Dunbar resident, Richard Miller, knows that firsthand.
“The infrastructure of this whole country is slipping away,” Miller said.
He lives by another Dunbar sinkhole at Walnut Street and Pine Circle. Monday night, City Council approved $4,500 to dig it up and replace the pipe underneath.
“It’s a pretty good sized hole,” Miller said. “An animal or a child could possibly get into it. I mean, that’s always a possibility.”
The city says that hole should be fixed within a few weeks. A $12.5 million grant means the city’s entire system will eventually be replaced, preventing any more holes.
“A lot of the old pipes which have holes in them and everything, which is causing the collapse, which is causing the sinkholes,” Public Works Director Terry Greenlee said, “Those will all be replaced.”
And that is something Haught is thankful for.
“It’s your family,” Haught said. “You have to provide for them. And some things are out of your power, and it’s really frustrating beyond all reason.”
Greenlee says repairs should start within the next week or two on the sinkhole at Pine Circle and Walnut Street.
As for the sinkhole by Haught’s house, the pipe along the entire street will eventually be dug up and replaced.
New sewer and water lines will also be laid downtown and in the Roxalana area of Dunbar as part of that grant.