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Stormwater pipes fail after heavy rain in Columbia

Columbia Public Works is working to repair two stormwater pipes that failed during Wednesday night’s heavy rain.

One of the pipes caused an eight-foot deep sinkhole on Towne Road just north of Clark Lane. And the other flooded the entire intersection of Fairview and Summit Roads, causing a car to get stuck in high water.

Judith Kaye Gray-Manolov has been living on Summit Road for nearly seven years. Each year, someone gets stuck trying to drive through the flooded intersection, she said.

Every time there is heavy rain, Gray-Manolov has to take a route that is a long ways out of the way, just to avoid the intersection with bad stormwater drains, she said.

“These are old, and they’re not adequate for the drainage that comes from both directions on Fairview and from Summit,” Gray-Manolov said. “And this is the lower part of the road, so it would only make sense to me that you would fix the lower part and redo the drainage system.”

Thursday morning, Columbia Public Works closed off a section of the sidewalk on Fairview to dig up the failed pipe and ground that heavy rains washed away to allow any more storm water to drain. Public works said the pipe needed for the repair is not in stock and has to be shipped to Columbia, so repairs will not begin until Monday.

On Towne Drive, crews filled up the eight-foot deep sinkhole temporarily with rock Thursday until permanent repairs can be scheduled.

In April, Columbia voters approved raising the stormwater fees from 65 cents to $1.44 a month for the average homeowner. According to Columbia Public Works, that will take effect October 1st. Public works said right now, it is working on a final design for stormwater system improvements in Columbia and currently has several projects on the list that are ready to award contracts.

With the increased stormwater fees, the average Columbia homeowner will see an increase of $3.37 by the year 2019.

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