Leave it to Lewiston to turn the blogosphere into the “blobosphere.”

Even semi-retired humor scribe Dave Barry mentioned the city’s doughy obstruction on his personal piece of cyberspace, replete with the infamous color picture of the ugly, grayish, otherworldly…thing.

Even we, the normally stoic editorial board, had some fun with it. One quip had to do with the blob’s resemblance to another gray matter – the brain – and how reassuring it was to find, conclusively, a mind truly in the sewer.

We had some suggestions too. One involved enlisting the aid of the cardiac surgeons at our area hospitals, to contrive some sort of giant sewer stent to clear the offending blockage. If there’s anybody around here who can clear pipes, we thought, it’s them.

This jocularity was short-lived, though. While the Web world jiggled with glee at this Stephen King tale (or Mark LaFlamme daydream) come to life, the presence of this expensive public problem begs serious scrutiny and humor-free consideration.

Weirdness aside, this pipe collapse should spur concern that others are occurring elsewhere in the city. It shouldn’t be discounted as a one-off blob, as it were.

Late last week, the city’s deputy public services director, Josh Gagne, described the problem as “typical” in an aging sewage system.

“Sometimes it collapses and then blockages happen,” he said.

If a typical sewer collapse in Lewiston can earn this much attention, sprout a blockage some 50 to 60 feet in length, and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair, then we shiver to think what an untypical situation might cause.

This is where the medical analogy suddenly loses its amusement. Instead of Lewiston taxpayers funding intermittent and costly repairs, the city should investigate the causes and conditions of the collapse, and how to mitigate others.

Instead of Lewiston’s blob, let’s view this as the city’s heart attack – an obstruction in an important artery, caused by neglect and likely preventable. This should be enough to make the city alter its behavior.

When traffic congests, solutions are quick to come – traffic light timing, lane expansionsand yes, roundabouts. The same problem-solving should extend to sewers, which are an equally important piece of infrastructure to keep clear and material moving.

It’s fine to have a sense of humor about the blob. We did, and so did the bloggers who guffawed at our expense.

Future ones won’t be near as funny.


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