WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Monmouth Battles Sinkholes

Monmouth, IL – The City of Monmouth has received about a foot of rain in the past few weeks -- and that's led to some major headaches for the public works department.

Public Works Director Andy Jackson says the city is battling several sink holes that have sprouted up across the city. Jackson explains tiles or joints in portions of the aging sewer system have been inundated. The tiles give way, and the pipes begin sucking dirt and mud. Eventually, the ground gives way.

Some of the holes across the city have been minor, but there's been at least one the city didn't have the resources to fix.

"Typically I've got to get a contractor in here," says Jackson. "They're deep, 15 to 16 feet deep. We don't have that type of safety equipment to safely send people down into those types of holes to repair them."

Once the contractor repairs the joints or tiles, and back-fills the hole, Jackson says it could cost the city anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000.

Jackson says the city's sewer problems are nothing new. He recalls a major water main explosion in 1982, and big problems in 1993 during the floods. 2008 also presented problems.

He says the city replaces sewer lines as it can -- but it's very expensive to do so. Monmouth has about 65 miles of sewer lines to maintain. Replacing all of them would cost about $65 million.