What went wrong? That’s a question SAWS will try to answer after an apparent sewer line break caused a sinkhole on the Southwest side–which left a 60-year old woman dead after she drove in to it Sunday Night.
“We don’t know until we de-water–until we see… until we are able to assess” SAWS President and CEO Robert Puente said Monday Morning.
It appears the break happened in an area where new and old pipe were joined together.
“It’s a brand new pipe–installed in October of 2015. North of the sinkhole is what we’re replacing–which is old pipe” Puente said. That pipe that’s being replaced was described as being “decades old.”
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the woman who died was part-time Deputy Dora Nishihara. She had worked as a Reserve Deputy from August of 2009 until October of this year, when she took a part-time role at the Bexar County Courthouse.
The Sheriff’s Office said it was providing assistance to Nishihara’s family.
Firefighters were called to the area of Qunitana Road near Pitluk Avenue Sunday Night–after a second car drove in to the sinkhole–landing on top of Nishihara’s upside down car. A man in that vehicle was able to get out of the hole with the help of some passers by and is expected to be ok.
Mayor Ivy Taylor is also calling for answers in the aftermath of the tragedy. The work taking place in the area appears to stem from system wide upgrades that have been taking place around the area in response to a large number of line breaks and overflows in recent years.
“We know we’ve had a challenge with relation to our sewer (system), and we’ve been undergoing an aggressive, vigorous replacement program” Taylor said.