Storm water causes Big Cedar Creek spill report
♦ City moving ahead on plan to upgrade wastewater system
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.