Storm wa­ter causes Big Cedar Creek spill re­port

♦ City mov­ing ahead on plan to up­grade waste­water sys­tem

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - From staff re­ports

One thing about the down­pours Polk County ex­pe­ri­enced at the end of July and be­gin­ning of the month is that when it rains like that, the flood­ing is go­ing to cause real prob­lems for one area never meant to han­dle that kind of flow at one time.

City man­ager Bill Fann re­ported that from Mon­day, July 30 through Wed­nes­day, Aug. 1, city wa­ter and waste­water me­ters re­quired to re­port to the state lo­cal to­tals that nine inches of rain fell be­tween those three days.

The ul­ti­mate re­sult: un­treated wa­ter ends up spilling into Big Cedar Creek for at least a day as rain­fall drains away down­stream to places like Cave Spring, who get in­un­dated and flood too.

City of­fi­cials re­ported the in­ci­dent that lasted be­tween 24 and 36 hours be­tween Mon­day and Tues­day was caused by a clogged man­hole, which was later cleared by equip­ment the city had.

The prob­lem – and one al­ready dis­cussed by city com­mis­sion­ers in the past when they sought to start the process of up­grad­ing pump­ing sta­tions and wa­ter lines – is the mix of storm wa­ter and waste­water all end­ing up in the same sys­tem.

It puts pres­sure on the waste­water treat­ment plant in the process, or causes clogs to form when de­bris from streets end up in man­holes and causes the wa­ter try­ing to drain to back up, thus flood­ing streets and spilling else­where.

Those clogs even­tu­ally get cleared ei­ther by the pres­sure of the wa­ter against ob­jects, or from work­ers getting equip­ment in­volved to tackle the prob­lem.

Mit­i­gat­ing that prob­lem is why the city wants to up­grade the sys­tem, and those plans are headed be­fore the GEFA board on Aug. 21 ac­cord­ing to Fann.

Those up­grades are in the works, and ad­di­tional votes about the project are ex­pected in Septem­ber and a bid­ding process to fol­low that.

No ac­tion is be­ing taken against the city for the spill since it was caused by the ex­cess amount of wa­ter gen­er­ated by the storms in pre­vi­ous weeks, Fann said.

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