BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – The removal of a crane from the North Fork Holston River is the next step in clearing the way for the Scott County Public Service Authority to deal with raw sewage that’s still flowing into the water.
The crane, which was in use for an ongoing Virginia Department of Transportation project in Weber City, reportedly fell into the river along U.S. Route 23 after rain water caused the river to rise four times its usual height.
Last week, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation activated a water contact advisory because of the damaged sewer line causing raw sewage to flow into the river in Weber city, Virginia then downstream into Hawkins and Sullivan counties. The authority found out about the leak a week ago Wednesday and they’re still trying to stop it. TDEC’s advisory is still in effect.
Earlier this week the authority said they would try to make a temporary repair on the sewer line. Scott County PSA’s Executive Director Mike Dishman said they’re now planning a permanent fix because it would take a similar amount of time as a temporary one.
Around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, News Channel 11 saw VDOT’s concracting crews remove the crane after working for nearly five hours.
“I’m just glad to have the crane out of the river safely,” VDOT spokesperson, Michelle Earl said.
Earl also spoke about next steps.
“We’ll look towards getting the debris removed just as safely and as quickly as possible,” Earl said.
Dishman tells News Channel 11 they’ve hired a contractor to look at the sewer line break and to further evaluate the damage.
“We’ll also help out with the PSA in making sure they can reach their assets to get their work done,” Earl said.
Nearby property owner Marcei Williams said she was relieved. “I’m just glad to see the crane out of the river and sitting on the property,” Williams said.
James Russ from Crane & Rigging Corporation, the company that removed the crane from the water said the crane weighed 550 tons and it wasn’t the job that was difficult but it was the time it took to get it done.
“Just in a days work,” Russ said.
Six-year-old Joey Westwood was amazed to see a crane in the river.
“I’ve never seen a few parts sticking out of the water, that was so crazy,” Westwood said.
The Scott County Public Service Authority said it plans to meet with VDOT Thursday to discuss a permanent fix for the sewer line.
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