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Kitchen sink, microwave and TV found in Pittsburg sewer line - KOAM TV 7

Kitchen sink, microwave and TV found in Pittsburg sewer line

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City workers in Pittsburg, Kansas make a surprise discovery while doing routine inspections inside a sewer line that will cost taxpayers, and may eventually lead to somebody going to jail.

City workers say an inspection one year ago inside a sewer pipe near Smelter and Park Streets didn't show anything out of the ordinary.  But on Tuesday crews were using a camera to inspect the same pipe when they found a TV, microwave and a kitchen sink wedged in the sewer.

The TV and microwave have been removed, but the sink is wedged so far along inside the sewer they may have to dig up much of the line to unclog the system.

"We may have to go bring in a private contractor and dig up the sewer and go all the way down which will be a large excavation," says Pittsburg Director of Utilities John Bailey.

The items could have caused a costly backflow of sewage to nearby homes and could cost the city thousands to clean up.  If there had been more rainfall the clogged sewer could have backwashed into nearby homes.

"And then, of course, the city is blamed for not doing a good job of maintenance but it's very difficult when you're facing this," says Bailey.  "Just think about their neighbors and the total destructive part of it.  It's a no win for anyone."

City workers say they've had problems with people dumping garbage in sewers but this incident will be the most costly to clean up.

"You have to work at it to put a microwave in a sewer," Bailey says.  "It's pretty hard to flush it down the toilet."

City crews believe someone lifted up a sewer's manhole cover to throw the items in.  Now, taxpayers will also have to pay the $30,000 bill to install new lockable manhole covers in the area.

"If we can find and positively identify who did it I would like to prosecute," says Bailey.

Adding to the frustration - a recycling center is less than a minute away from where the garbage was found.

"They do accept stuff like this," says Bailey.  "Of course they have no dumping requirements, too, when they're open.  And it's easy for people to come down here and say 'well they're not open so we're just coming down here to drop it off.'"

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