MALONE — The lack of an access road, promised as part of a sewer-line installation but never built, is delaying full repair of a clogged sewer line near the Town of Malone Highway Department garage.Malone Mayor Brent Stewart appealed to the Town Council this week to build a one-lane gravel road along one side of the sewer line so a village water tanker can get in there safely to blow the lines and unclog them."This needs to be visited as soon as possible," he said. "We have to be able to totally flush it."The town has a sewer line on the north side of U.S. Route 11 that extends from the Malone Industrial Park, which eventually empties into the village's sewer system at Fort Covington Street.A road was to be built to allow easy access to manholes and different portions of the line, so work teams could get in there if needed, "but nothing further was done," Stewart said. "A road really needs to be put in because there is no way to reach the line."He said he is not going to risk sending his $150,000 water truck into the soft, muddy field along the sewer line to try to unplug the damage.Stewart said the site has four-wheeler access, and tractors can get in there to plow and sow the fields, but regular vehicles have no way to get in and out of the area without a proper road.He said the village should have access at each manhole site, but the mayor did not know exactly how many manhole covers are located along the system.When he was called in to investigate the backed-up line, the mayor and Deputy Highway Superintendent Tom Shanty traveled the line and found vandals had removed the manhole covers and dropped piles of stones into the sewer line.The clog that caused the backup along Route 11, however, was from wadded-up paper towels plugging the sewer line."I don't know if it came from the Industrial Park or Wal-Mart, but we've got to tell people the system can't handle that," the mayor said.And he is concerned that when the sewer line is extended to the west from Wal-Mart to Meehan Road, the problems will only get worse."The more people you put on there, the more problems you're going to have."Stewart also cautioned Town Council members about farmers' tractors planting too close to the sewer lines because the vibrations from the massive vehicles tend to shake the ground and loosen the sewer-line joints.He'd like to see the town create a 20-foot right-of-way on each side of the sewer line, where a one-lane, gravel road could be placed along one side and a 20-foot restriction placed on the other side so farmers can't plant so close to it."It doesn't take much to rupture something. It's just plastic," he said of the sewer pipes.
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