Archived Story

Municipal sewers weather mid-week flood

Published 1:25pm Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Local sewer and drainage systems held up to varying degrees during Wednesday’s heavy rainfall that brought flooding and traffic delays to the Alexander City area.

Alexander City Director of Public Works and City Engineer Gerard Brewer said the city sewer and drainage system was flowing properly Wednesday during the afternoon storms.

“During the actual event, we had no reportable overflows. What the basically means is nobody called overflows in,” Brewer said. “To be honest, I would expect some overflow because there’s just almost no way to prevent them. We had one the next day that we think was related to the storm where some sand washed into the

blocked a manhole on Ridgeway Drive.”

Brewer said Wednesday’s storms brought about 2.2 inches of rain in 30 minutes, which was “between a 10-year and 25-year event.”

Brewer said public works inspected the pipe at 11th Street West after heavy flooding at the intersection with Washington Street, and the pipe was in good shape.

He added the system operated well and public works is continuing to assess the system to see if any repairs need to be made.

“As long as we continue to keep doing what we are doing, it’s going to continue to get better over time,” Brewer said. “We are continuing to see significant reductions in overall numbers of SSOs (sanitary sewer overflows), which is obviously our ultimate goal. At this time we are about 60 percent through our entire system as far as assessment of the system. We are at point right now where we feel like we can see enough of what’s in front of us as far as repairs.”

As for flooding that temporarily held up traffic on U.S. Highway 280 East, Alabama Department of Transportation Fourth Division Engineer DeJarvis Leonard said the flooding was likely a result of more water than the system could handle at the time.

“It was a large rain event in a short period of time. I checked with the airport, and I think they had four inches of rain during that day, and I would estimate the majority of that four inches took place in about two hours,” Leonard said. “That just overwhelmed our drainage structures.”

Leonard said Wednesday was similar to the flash floods in the area two years ago, and added ALDOT will evaluate the drainage structure around U.S. 280 in the next few months.

“We will perform an evaluation and see if there is anything that happened with the drainage structure that would have caused any problems,” Leonard said. “We will evaluate to see if there is anything we need to do to modify our drainage structure.”