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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sewer bloggage

My wife and I had the unpleasant experience late Wednesday of a sewer line backup in our basement.

Thinking the problem might be in the city of Kingston sewer main that runs underground next to our house, I called the Department of Public Works’ nighttime emergency number about 11:20 p.m., and a foreman called me back a few minutes later.

The foreman said he and a crew would be over within half an hour, and they were – complete with the city’s spanking new sewer-vacuuming truck, a $250,000 piece of apparatus that could suck the dust off your living room floor from across town.

The DPW crew vacuumed the sewer line from a manhole on my street and from a manhole on the next street, and one of the guys even went down into the manhole at the rear of my back yard to look for trouble – all between midnight and 12:30 a.m.

Now I know these guys make a good wage – and I’m sure the crew drew overtime pay for coming out after hours – but it’s comforting to know, as a city taxpayer, that such prompt and reliable service is available around the clock, especially when a crisis occurs long after the regular workday has ended.

It turned out the problem was in the sewer pipe inside our house, not in the city’s line, so a plumbing company had to come over this morning to clear the blockage. But that doesn’t change the fact that, while standing outside in the cold late Wednesday and early today, I was proud to call myself a resident of Kingston and tremendously grateful for the work that three city employees were doing in an effort to make my life easier.



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