Slow City + Letter = Fast City

About two weeks ago, I noticed a water leak in front of my neighbor’s house. The water was pouring out of the junction box where the city pipes connect with the meter, just beyond the sidewalk in my neighbor’s yard.

Water is pouring out at a very good pace, probably a gallon a minute. It’s pouring out of the box, and onto the sidewalk. There’s constantly about an inch of water on the sidewalk, and that’s only because it is overflowing on to the road. There is about an inch of water along the road as well, about 2 feet wide and 25 feet long. This thing is really pouring out the water.

This has already been repaired before. Several months back, the city came out and fixed the same leak. I’m thinking that they knew it was a bad leak, but only performed a temporary fix. We are, after all, talking about city workers.

Well, a few days after I called to report the leak, they came out and had a look. They painted some blue lines on the road (assumingly to show where the pipes were), and left. A week passed.

Last night, while headed out to pick Jaime, I met up with my neighbor. Believe it or not, his name is “Ike.”

Mike: Hey Ike! How’s it going?
Ike: Hey Mike. Not bad, how about yourself?
Mike: Good. Hey, is the city ever going to come clean this up?
Ike: Man, they told me it would be another month and a half.
Mike: A month and a half? They’re going to let water pour on the street for a month and a half?
Ike: Yeah, and it’s a mess. I clean it up, and it just gets messy again.
Mike: Man, that’s terrible.
Ike: Yep, terrible.
Mike: Well, I’ve got to go. Seeya later, Ike.
Ike: Seeya later.

OK, that was enough for me. A month and a half? No way! That is not acceptable.

For the past year or so, the city of Savannah and the county of Chatham have been putting up billboards advising people to conserve water. Some of the signs show a dripping garden hose with the phrase “Don’t let Chatham County drip dry.” Obviously, we have water concerns.

See, we get our water from the Floridian Aquifer. You can read all about it here. There are constant battles between Georgia and Florida about the use of the aquifer.

The next issue at hand related to the water is “blight.” The city has been cracking down on blight (article).

If they consider items on your property as “blight,” you will be warned. If you do not correct the situation in the specified time, the city will come remove the blight and bill you. Now, if citizens find blight on city property, are we allowed to warn and fine the city? Nope, of course not.

The last issue at hand is damage to my road. The road itself is in very nice shape, with exception to one segment. Directly in front of the water leak, there are spider-web like cracks that cover the width of the road, and extend about 50 feet to either side of the water leak. It seems to me as though the water had leaked under the road and saturated the ground. Winter came, and a bit of freezing and thawing has caused stress upon the road and lead to the cracks. Seeing as we have had sink holes in Savannah before, I think it’s important for the city to ensure that roads are safe when they have a large quantity of unusual cracks on the pavement.

So, keep this all in mind when you read the following email, which I sent to the head of the Sewer and Water department last night:

Subject: Water repair issue
Mr. name omitted:

My name is Mike name omitted, and I live at address omitted in Savannah.

Last week, I notified the city of a water leak occurring just north of my property. Within two days, the city workers came out and marked the area for repair.

Earlier today, I was talking with a neighbor and was told that the repairs are estimated to take a month to a month and a half to complete. No work has started.

That means that, at my estimate of 1/2 gallon per minute, the city is allowing roughly 5,000 gallons of water *per week* to leak onto the roadway and sidewalk until the repairs are completed.

As I drive around Savannah, I see these huge, expensive signs that direct me to conserve water. I am told not to let Chatham County “drip dry.” Yet, when I walk out my front door, the only water I see being wasted is at the hand of the city.

Additionally, when I read the paper or listen to local talk radio, I am consistently reminded that the city is cracking down on the *blight*. Is it not blight to have a perpetually flooded sidewalk, flowing into a perpetually flooded road? As a resident, I think it is.

Lastly, it seems as though this problem may have already had a structural impact upon our street. If you walk the street from end to end, you will notice that it is in very good shape. However, directly in front of the leak, the road has very defined cracks. This is not a small area; it spans the width of the street, and approximately 50 feet to either side of the water leak. If possible, please direct the city engineering department to inspect the road for safety.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.

Mike name omitted
private email address omitted

Well, folks, as of noon today, the city is working on the repair!

As I look out my window right now, I see three men with a big truck and some orange cones. They have the street torn up, and are working on the repair.


This only shows that polite yet firm letters do get results!

My neighbor will be happy when he arrives home tonight to find his water leak repaired. He won’t have to worry about a pool of water– no fault of his own– making his property look bad. And we won’t have to worry about mosquitoes breeding in the mini-pond on the roadway.

Ah, it’s been a good day so far. Now let’s see if our water is still on– I need a shower. :P


One thought on “Slow City + Letter = Fast City

  1. Ha! Excellent. Then again, you LOVE writing letters like that. And, by the way, keep your hands off our aquifer. :P

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