Mayor McFarland Statement on Flooding/Sewer System

MWSD has released the following in response to the large amounts of rain we have received.
April 23rd, 2017
Just like our ditches, creeks, and rivers, the sanitary sewer collection system has a certain capacity to handle flows. When our area receives significant rainfall, and our streams go out of their banks sometimes the sanitary sewer system also goes “out of its banks”. The sanitary sewer system is designed to be “watertight”, but there are times when storms create water levels so high, that stormwater infiltrates into the sewer system and inundates the system to the point that pumps and gravity sewer lines cannot handle all of the flow. This creates a back-up that typically manifests in an overflow at a low lying manhole.
The Water and Sewer Department works tirelessly to make sure that pumps are proactively maintained, that gravity lines are monitored, inspected and cleared of any blockages that could restrict flow, and spends millions of dollars per year to replace and rehabilitate older, leaky sewer mains and manholes. Unfortunately, there are times that mother nature decides to humble us, and it appears that all of the Department’s hard work hasn’t accomplished it’s desired outcome – to avoid sewer overflows.
Please note that sewer collection system overflowed in several locations throughout the City as a result of the rains that occurred Friday and Saturday. The Department has notified the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation of these overflows. The overflows are primarily rainwater that is commingled with wastewater. The streams are so high that there will be no adverse effects to aquatic life within the creeks or rivers as the overflows are contributing a very small portion of the overall flow entering the streams. See attached W. Fork Stones River gage that shows it is flowing greater than 100 times its normal flow. There has also been no reported overflows into structures or homes and therefore the Department believes no public health or safety issues. Please avoid the streams and creeks at this time due to high water levels and velocities that create hazardous conditions. You can contact Darren Gore at 615-890-0862 Monday morning with additional questions or concerns. The Water and Sewer Department will be cleaning up known areas of overflows tomorrow as conditions allow. Some areas will need to dry out before remediation clean up can occur. Have a wonderful Sunday and we apologize for any inconveniences.

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