General manhole disrepair, file photo.

IMPERIAL — The Imperial City Council declared an emergency Wednesday, July 1, authorizing the city manager to take the necessary action to respond to manholes in Imperial. The action came after an emergency was declared by the interim city manager to respond to a manhole discovered Monday, June 22.

The manhole on Nance Road, near the intersection of Worthington Road, was partially collapsed. This caused the formation of a sinkhole. According to Imperial City Manager Dennis Morita, if the manhole were to completely collapse, the conveyance of wastewater to the plant or nearest pump would cease and cause health and safety issues to the community.

The manhole was discovered after Public Services Director Jackie Loper drove his truck over the manhole and felt the truck bounce. He exited the vehicle to inspect the manhole.

The following morning, an emergency was declared and repairs to the structure were authorized. Emergency repairs were conducted by A & R Construction and city staff.

“This line was put in 14 years ago and the life expectancy would’ve been far greater. We’re not exactly sure what happened,” said Loper.

It was determined the age of the manhole and the corrosive gases associated with untreated wastewater, deteriorated the walls of the manhole, leading to its partial collapse.

According to Loper, a plan to address the remaining manholes along the line is being developed and will be brought back to the city council.

Loper said the manhole in the area sunk 11 inches and the ring around it had collapsed. This is the fourth one in the month to sink, and the sixth of the year.

Loper said the job was done quickly and he is currently developing criteria for a grading system that will allow city employees to go out and inspect the manholes for damage. 

“Everything went exceedingly well. We got in, got out,” said Loper.

The repairs to the manhole have been completed after struggling to obtain asphalt, causing the initial delay.

According to city council documents, the council declared the public interest and necessity of the repairs an immediate expenditure of public money to safeguard life, health, and property.

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