LCBPU worker hurt in trench collapse spurs precautions

When a Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities’ employee was injured as a result of a waterline trench collapsing, it triggered a review from OSHA.

 During the system’s February board meeting, Chris Merz, superintendent, requested that the board extend the capital budget for the purpose of purchasing light-weight trench shields to protect workers in the future. The board also approved the purchase of a utility trailer to transport the shields.

“It was very unfortunate,” said Merz. The board authorized up to $10,000 for Merz to purchase lightweight shields and the utility trailer. The employee sustained a broken leg, and a full recovery is expected within six months.

Later in the meeting, officials discussed main waterline breakage and how it has been high, even though service line breakage has been low, recently. Excessive rain, freezing, and warming temperatures tend to cause the ground to shift, resulting in waterline breaks.  

Merz announced that the Skinem tank rehab is complete and already showing value to the system. Since construction of the new Blanche School is progressing quickly, crews will be getting ready to install lines to the school, with a construction worker observing the project.  

A new capital project being eyed is the installation of a pump station on Gunter Hollow Road. It would give the system a secondary feed to keep water in the Unity tank when it gets low. One other project being explored is a pump station upgrade in Belleville.

In other action, officials voted to retain auditors Bean, Rhoton & Kelly for the next fiscal year. Debra Sowder, office manager, stated that the firm has been very thorough the past two years.

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