Commonwealth Journal

Local News

September 17, 2013

Fountain Square Soap Opera

Somerset Police taking sudsy fountain seriously

Somerset —

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble.
The common malapropism of a familiar line from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” was applicable to the scene in downtown Somerset Monday morning, as the new Fountain Square received its maiden sudsing.  
Tiffany Bourne, Pulaski County’s Community Development Director, was the one to oversee the project and has taken great pride in the new-look fountain. Still, she took the prank in stride.
“Kids will be kids,” she said. “It’s a local tradition. It didn’t hurt my feelings any.
“Back in high school, with the seniors and the sports teams, I can’t lie, we did it too,” she added. “It’s just a part of Somerset.”
Indeed, for decades, idle hands made detergent their playthings. A favorite pastime of local teens has been putting soap in the fountain on the town square, causing a massive amount of white, fluffy bubbles to materialize in the shallow pool.
It’s proven mostly harmless, with only a bit of trouble on the part of those tasked with removing the bubbles, but still, it was a rite of passage Bourne had hoped to prevent.
Bourne had billed the new fountain — part of a million-dollar square overhaul scheduled to be officially unveiled October 4; the fountain actually started flowing in mid-August — as having “anti-suds technology.”
Inserted into the water was a special chemical substance that would “eat” the bubbles, as Bourne put it.
Ideally, the suds-dissipation would take about an hour. Bourne noted that it took a little bit longer Monday, however. Work crews even took to blowing some of the bubbles out with lawn equipment to hurry along the removal.
“It’s a bigger pool than the one (engineers) had been testing it in,” said Bourne.
Still, “if we didn’t have it in there, the bubbles probably would have flowed into the streets,” she added. “(The chemicals) kept it contained.”

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