The city of Hughson’s effort to fill in an abandoned and crumbling sewer line on Tully Avenue on Wednesday turned into a nightmare for a Hughson pastor whose bathroom and home became flooded with a cement-like substance coming out of a toilet and bathtub.
Hughson City Manager Merry Mayhew said a contractor was pumping a foamy material which in time hardens into an old industrial line that ran between the old Hughson Creamery and the Hughson wastewater plant north of town on Leedom Road. The clay pipeline, which is over a century old, has been collapsing under Tully Road so the city decided to fill it in by a contractor. When the company began to backfill the line near Hughson Church of Christ and Hughson Christian School, the material began pushing up into unknown connections to the parsonage and the church.
“It was unknown that there were two other lines there,” explained Mayhew. “That’s what the problem was.”
The material also began to rise and displace water from the toilet bowls inside the church restrooms, she said.
“The Christian school wasn’t affected,” said Mayhew, who explained that sewer service for that 1911 facility had been changed when residential building took place nearby years ago.
When the problem became known, the work crew immediately stopped work and quickly evacuated the material from the lines before it hardened – but left a huge mess inside the parsonage itself.
The material also flowed into Tully Road at a location to the south.
The damage caused the church’s pastor and wife to leave their home while a restoration company cleans up the mess.
“These things happen in big projects,” said Mayhew.
She became concerned about rumors that began being circulating on the Nextdoor app, one stating that 250 homes had been affected.
The former Dairy Farmers of America plant was closed in 2018 and is now used by MGA Research which does automotive safety and quality testing.