BY JUDY SHERIDAN
The Summit Lutheran Church in Aledo is up and running again a few weeks after worshipers arrived on Sunday morning to find almost a half-inch of sewage coating the floors of their building’s bathrooms, kitchen and nursery.
“It has been a rallier for our congregation,” Pastor Peter Cowser, who was in Houston when the accident happened, said. “Lay people have been repainting the nursery, making lemonade out of lemons.”
Cowser said the accident, which happened the Friday before Father’s Day, was caused by contractors working on nearby Aledo Trail, who accidentally cut a main sewer line.
The line serves the church, Aledo City Hall, Scoop Me and a chiropractor’s office, he said.
“The contractors thought it was a dry line,” he said. “There was not a lot of flushing going on.”
Cowser said he believes the church was the only building to suffer consequences from the break.
“We’re at the low end of where everything drains,” he explained. “If we were on a sewage line with a whole neighborhood, we would have had major damage. It took awhile to figure it out.”
Much of the church’s leadership was away for a wedding when the break occurred, Cowser said, but others took charge, capably moving Sunday services to a building at the back of the property used for youth.
“They tried to just close off part of the building, but the band that was rehearsing was getting physically ill from the smell,” he said.
Both services were held in the small 1200-square-foot that Sunday morning, Cowser said, a “cozy” fit for some 130 people combined.
By Monday morning a crew was at work, he said, and by the following Friday the line was fixed.
Cowser estimated damages at about $2,000, including nursery baseboards and carpet. He said he had the sense that contractors would assume responsibility.
“It sounds like the folks doing the construction work are bending over backwards to get information and follow up,” he said.
Cowser complimented City of Aledo employees as well as representatives from engineering firm Freese & Nichols, saying both had been apologetic and helpful through the ordeal.
“The city’s got a lot on its plate right now with all the community projects,” he said. “They dealt with us in a quick, cordial apologetic manner, and we can’t reitterate how grateful we are.” “It’s a privilege to be their neighbors.”