WILLIAMSON – Residents impacted by a landslide on Goodman Avenue voiced frustrations and concerns as they seek a solution to an ongoing problem.
The mudslide directly impacts at least three residents living on Goodman Ave. One residence has already received substantial damage from trees, mud and debris caused by the landslide. With traditional spring rains on the way, further structure damage is a possibility. Others have been left without water. Exposed drainage pipes pose possible safety concerns and are an eyesore.
One issue involved with the landslide is concern over what entity should be held accountable for alleviating the problems associated with the landslide.
On Wednesday, Feb. 24 the Williamson City Council held an emergency meeting to address this issue as well as other serious concerns throughout the city. An article published in the Williamson Daily News discussed the happenings of the emergency meeting. The article states, “Mayor Carlton said he visited that site on Wednesday and talked to the property owner. While the meeting was being held, two employees from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – the abandoned mine division, who had come to Williamson to investigate the situation, spoke to the city council. Jason Foster of the DEP said, ‘it is not mining related.’ Foster said the DEP ‘could not be of any assistance’ to the city of Williamson on the mudslide. He said the slide was caused by ‘natural drainage and surface water’ that runs next to the house. Carlton said that the slide could continue and push the house off its foundation. The mudslide has already taken out a deck connected to home and part of the landscaping of homeowner and recently widowed, Charlene Tincher.”
Tincher recently agreed to an interview with the Williamson Daily News. Tincher states, “This is a city street. This is Teeter Street; all the way down. It is not a paved street but the city owns it…I have talked to Jason Allen. He has been the one to talk to me the most. They have a civil engineer that is making a plan for the best situation for this in the long run because even if they remove all this, the top is going to fall,” Tincher explained pointing to the hollowed out area of land left from the landslide. “The water comes from the mountain. It runs here constantly all year. It doesn’t matter how hot it gets.”
Tincher also discussed concerns with spring rains. “When the springs rains come; it comes off from everywhere up there. It comes from several different places.” Another concern Tincher has is the possibility of trees striking her home. During the interview, Tincher calls attention to a recent tree that was cut down. “Those two trees right there,” Tincher points, “They do not belong there. They were up there; this all slid down here. This tree here, they got this off there the other day because we thought it was going to come through our two doors. “
Tincher continues, discussing landscaping and a deck that has been destroyed while showing pictures of how her home used to look. “Today was my breaking point because of some things they want to do. See how much weight is against our house? The more it comes down the more it pushes on that end of our house,” Tincher states.
Tincher also discusses the exposed drainage pipes that run across the property. “That used to be buried. Then, when that slid, they didn’t even offer to bury it. Everyone that has come up here; they are so concerned. They all ask, ‘How come those sewer lines are like that, running on top of the ground?’”
Tom Koch, another resident impacted by the landslide, to voiced concerns at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Williamson Utility Board held on Feb. 25.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Kotch approached the Utility Board stating, “I live up above the Tinchers where the landslide was on Goodman Ave…I had a water line professionally installed in 2001… and it was the landslide where FEMA was involved. Because the meters are basically on ground level…”
Robert Carlton, Chairman of the Utility Board questioned, “Is your sewer line out or something?”
Koch responded stating, “Oh, sure. All the sewer lines are out. The problem is my water line. It was professionally installed in 2001. It has withstood all these landslides because the water meter is on ground level and my line is below ground level. I don’t know who it was, Veolia or the City did some work and they had my line going up in a loop above ground about a foot. Mrs. Tincher saw that and said, ‘you can’t leave that man’s water line exposed like that…’ The landslide didn’t cause the water line if it had been as it should have been and had been put in properly. It broke because of the work that they did. I was told by the fellow that I would have to fix that myself and he told other people out of my presence that I would have to do that… I am not responsible for it happening and I shouldn’t be responsible for the cost for them to repair it… “
Carlton asked for clarification stating, “So your major problem then today is that you don’t have water or sewer service either one, is that right?”
Carlton responded, “Your water line that broke is it on city property? Veolia has been there and looked at it…”
“Yes and I was told that I was responsible for fixing it and I shouldn’t be. I’m not responsible for it happening…”
Carlton responded stating, “Let me reassure you. That entire situation up there is at the top of our minds. In fact, we held a special meeting of the Williamson City Council yesterday and discussed those issues and asked Veolia to take some look at it. Also, we advised anyone that felt that the city was responsible for any damage to their property to contact George Poole, the city insurance agent. “
Koch also contacted the Williamson Daily News to express concerns. Koch stated, “Nothing has been done at all. I have been without water for three weeks and have been carrying it in buckets. “
Koch continued stating, “There is sewer running directly down the hill.”
This issue has been placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the Williamson City Council that will take place today (Thursday) at 6 p.m.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)