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City Takes On $1 Billion Project to Prevent Sinkholes In San Antonio

San Antonio Fire Department

The city of San Antonio says cleanup of the Quintana Road sinkhole should be finished the first week in February. The city will spend more than $1 billion to fix sewers over the next 10 years.

The sinkhole formed near an overflowing sewer line last month. Bexar CountyReserve Deputy Dora Linda Solis Nishihara died after being trapped inside her car which had fallen into the sinkhole. Clouse says the pipeline was only a year old; and he'd never seen anything like this happen before.

“It wasn’t the fact that it had rained that caused this problem,” Clouse says. “I think something developed within the pipeline that started the cascading series of events that led to the collapse in the road.”

Clouse says the city was notified about a foul odor before the sinkhole incident.

“If somebody suspects something, if they smell a sewer smell, they need to give us a call and let us check it out. Under the circumstances at Quintana Road, I think we followed protocol exactly. I think that’s what we need to do,” Clouse says.

The city didn’t find a problem, he says, and foul odors can be caused by something other than sewage. Clouse also urged citizens to contact the city if they see a dip in the road. That may indicate a sinkhole is forming.

Louisa Jonas is an independent public radio producer, environmental writer, and radio production teacher based in Baltimore. She is thrilled to have been a PRX STEM Story Project recipient for which she produced a piece about periodical cicadas. Her work includes documentaries about spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds aired on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Louisa previously worked as the podcast producer at WYPR 88.1FM in Baltimore. There she created and produced two documentary podcast series: Natural Maryland and Ascending: Baltimore School for the Arts. The Nature Conservancy selected her documentaries for their podcast Nature Stories. She has also produced for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Distillations Podcast. Louisa is editor of the book Backyard Carolina: Two Decades of Public Radio Commentary. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her training also includes journalism fellowships from the Science Literacy Project and the Knight Digital Media Center, both in Berkeley, CA. Most recently she received a journalism fellowship through Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she traveled to Toolik Field Station in Arctic Alaska to study climate change. In addition to her work as an independent producer, she teaches radio production classes at Howard Community College to a great group of budding journalists. She has worked as an environmental educator and canoe instructor but has yet to convince a great blue heron to squawk for her microphone…she remains undeterred.