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Hancock man reports sewage leak

April 13, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

HANCOCK- The odor in the alley brought back memories for Jim True, but not in a good way.

"I could smell the sewage," True said to town officials during Hancock's town council meeting Wednesday. "Then I saw flies buzzin' all around there."

True told council members that there was a manhole that repeatedly leaked raw sewage in the alley behind the four buildings he owns along Blue Hill Road, near Hancock Elementary School.

After describing the most recent leak in February, True, 69, asked the town to fix the manhole.

"I got 5-year-old grandkids that play around there, and as you know, raw sewage is a major health hazard," True said at the meeting.

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While True claimed that the manhole's yearly spews had gone unaddressed for the last 28 years - shortly after the elementary school was built - Town Manager David Smith said the last leak he was knew of occurred in February.

Mayor Daniel Murphy said town officials would investigate whether there were past incidents and whether those incidents were properly reported.

Smith, who assessed the February leak, said the town did not clean it up because he did not see any solid matter.

But Smith said officials would have cleaned up the spill had the town known about the smell, which True said emerged the next day.

"I had to lime it myself," True said. "Even if there are no solids, it's sewer water."

Lime is commonly used to clean up sewage.

"If you would have called me and told me there was an odor, I would have limed it," Smith said.

He added that the town had recently made improvements to its water and sewer system.

"So that we can address problems like that," Smith said.

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