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Town of Blowing Rock Blames 58,000+ Gallons of Sewage Reaching Middle Fork Waters on Taylor & Murphy

By Jesse Wood

June 14, 2013. Four months after losing control of the U.S. 321 widening project in Blowing Rock, the Asheville-based Taylor & Murphy Construction Company is back in the local news.

Earlier today, the Town of Blowing Rock sent out a notification that more than 58,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Middle Fork of the South Fork of the New River on Wednesday due to damage to a manhole by Taylor & Murphy while it was still the prime contractor of the U.S. 321 widening project.

“The cause of the overflow was due to debris in the line which occurred when the manhole at which the overflow occurred had been damaged by Taylor-Murphy. This damage allowed debris to enter into the Town’s sanitary sewer system causing a blockage, which resulted in the overflow,” the release said. “The blockage has been removed and remedial actions have been taken. No fish kill has been reported in conjunction with this overflow.  

The public works department with the town said the Division of Water Quality has been notified and is currently reviewing the matter. According to state law, municipalities must notify the public when a spill of more than 1,000 gallons reaches surface waters.

In February, Doug Eller, resident engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation, told High Country Press that Taylor & Murphy, which was awarded the $66.4 million bid for the project, would no longer be the prime contractor of the project due to financial difficulties.

“We’re very pleased with what [Taylor & Murphy] has done up to this point,” Eller said at the time. “It’s unfortunate that they’ve had a little bit of bad luck.” 

In late March, the NCDOT announced that Maymead out of Mountain City, Tenn., would replace Taylor & Murphy as prime contractor for the widening project. The estimated completion date is now June 30, 2016. 

Calls to Taylor & Murphy on Friday afternoon were not returned.