ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs resident Paula Lerma has been dealing with the after effects of water bubbling from a manhole and flowing down the street in front of her house for about a week.
While the water finally stopped flowing Thursday evening, Lerma is still concerned it might occur again and is upset that city officials have failed to return her phone calls.
Lerma, who lives on disability after her husband passed away, said the water has created two sink holes in front of her house on 5th Ave. W. and standing water remains in her driveway on the side of the house.
Lerma said she first noticed the problem on Saturday, March 11, when she saw a pond in the middle of her street and started the investigation as to its origin.
“I didn’t realize what was going on until I saw water bubbling up out of the manhole,” she said.
Lerma has slowly been making improvements to the house since September, and she’s afraid all of that work will be for nothing.
“I could tell the water had followed my tracks right into my property,” Lerma said.
Even though the water appeared to flowing down the street without going onto her property on Wednesday evening, she’s was still concerned about water backing up onto the property and causing more damage.
“This is all I have. If I don’t have this. I have nothing,” Lerma said. “All I have is my disability pay. I used everything else my husband and I had to make this place a safe place to live in.”
Lerma said Rock Springs sewer department employees did visit the area on two separate occasions. They told her it wasn’t their department but would do what they could to address the problem.
She said on both visits they have have been nice and helpful. She said they even helped her break up the ice between the sidewalk and road to give the water a place to run instead of onto her property.
The sewer department completed their second visit to the area Thursday, and she said they were at the end of the street working on the drainage area. Lerma said she couldn’t tell exactly what they were doing, but eventually the water stopped bubbling out of the manhole.
Lerma claims she has reached out to at least four city representatives since Saturday without a return phone call and even though the sewer department employees were helpful, she’s still upset that none of her calls were returned.
She said at least one of them could have called back or stopped by to check and see how she was doing. She would also like the city to fill the sink hole created by the flooding.
SweetwaterNOW reached out to City Engineer Paul Kauchich who said he would not “comment on potential legal matters” and “the City has a claim process this individual can follow if she chooses to do that.”