On Saturday an unusual incident occurred in the Wilmington, Delaware sewer system. A man was rescued from the city’s sewers after spending the night underneath the streets. The unidentified man, in his 30’s, claimed that he fell into the sewer main a day earlier after which he got lost and spent the day wandering around. The circumstances of the incident are under investigation.
Michael Schaal, a battalion chief with the Wilmington Fire Department, commented that “this was a first for me. I’ve been to plenty of trench rescues but not one in the sewers.”
The rescue occured around 1:45 p.m. after a Wilmington pedestrian walking by a sewer grate heard a voice coming from the sewer, and called 911 for help.
Once at the scene, the rescue team unearthed several manhole covers but could not identify the origin of the voice, thereby requiring that two emergency workers be sent down into the sewer to investigate.
The man was eventually pulled out of the sewer about a mile from where he is suspected to have fallen in a day earlier. From the time the rescuers first arrived at the scene until the man was found and pulled out took about 22 minutes.
This odd occurence comes several months after Wilmington Mayor, Mike Purzycki, initiated legislation to raise the city’s water/sewer rates by 4 percent for the second year running. The mayor’s plan is part of an overall municipal plan to improve the quality of life, appearance, and functionality of the city’s neighborhoods, many of which are plagued by blight and crime.
As a result, the average water/sewer customer was projected to see a hike in their quarterly water bill. The increase will help fund improvements to the city’s sewer, water filtration and water supply systems. The sewer repair experts at North Georgia Pipelining explain that rehabilitating and modernizing an aging sewer system will lead to better efficiency, a healthier water supply and a long term reduction in costs and maintenance fees – all of which will benefit the residents of Wilmington.
The mayor’s initiative also supports other areas of improvement including repairing and updating local parks, the formation of a call center to receive and respond to complaints by residents, installation of a LED lighting system throughout the city, and many other projects intended to make the city safer and more attractive.