Letter to the Editor: "Congratulations"

To the Editor:
I would like to congratulate the mayor of Waukon and last year’s city council, along with the engineering group that planned out the street project for Third Street NE. The street looks great, but they took a neighborhood that had no problems in the June 24th, 2013 flood and got it flooding with only a 1-3/4 inch rain shower on Saturday, June 7th, 2014. They raised the grade from 8 inches to 18 inches over the original grade and put it above the sidewalks and adjoining properties. The 6 inch area that runs along the street, which I thought was the curb and gutter, will have to be renamed the curb and dam. When anybody in the construction crew was confronted and asked why the street and curb were so high, they would say, “This is what the plan calls for.”
Well, thanks to their brilliant plan, water is now running down areas where it never did before. Prior to the street project, the sidewalks were higher than the 6 inch curb, and the boulevards were slanted towards the street. Now the street is higher than the sidewalks and the boulevards slant into the sidewalks. Intersections also have a crown and handicap curb - no 6-inch rise. These openings are now allowing water to run down the sidewalks and into neighboring homes.
Next on the agenda, the plan called for all water lines going to the mains to be replaced, copper or not. This is a good thing. Here’s a fun fact in relation to the June 6th anniversary of D-Day: in the 1940s, all iron was collected for the war effort. Then Yankee ingenuity kicked in to replace the need for cast iron sewer pipes, and they came up with a pipe called Orangeburg. Orangeburg is a pipe made out of wood fiber, special water proof adhesive, and tar. They were originally used as electrical conduit pipes in subways, and were later used as sewer pipes in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. The life span of this material is probably about 60 years.
I took the warning to replace my Orangeburg pipe after our neighbors had to replace theirs after it collapsed. These sewage pipes should have also been a mandatory upgrade. The engineers and council ignored my warning on this. Now let’s watch and see how long it takes before the new street is turned up to replace these obsolete pipes (it also makes me wonder what the vibrating rollers and packers did to these frail pipes under the street. They shook our whole house on the way by. I can’t imagine what it did to the remaining Orangeburg pipes.)
Thanks for taking the time to read my letter. If the council, present or past, would like to comment on my statements, please tell the good people of Waukon about the “plan” and how it will make water run up hill. I would invite everyone to take a walk up Third Street and tell the council what you think. Maybe I’m just a dumb farm kid.
Ray Burroughs