Tropical Storm Fred could result in sewer overflows and spills

A map of DeKalb County, GA. Image obtained via Google Maps

DeKalb County, GA – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for DeKalb County and is predicting two to five inches of rain tonight through Wednesday morning, a press release said.

Because the ground is already saturated, the runoff from these storms could result in sewer overflows and spills.

In DeKalb County, the public is asked to report any indication of overflows and spills by calling 770-270-6243, which operates 24 hours a day.

DeKalb County has a monitoring and reporting system, which allows the county to identify spills that are not reported by the public.

In 2018, the county deployed electronic flow monitors to collect real-time data to locate, identify, reduce and eliminate wet weather spills. Additionally, flow monitors are used to collect data to identify stormwater intrusion. Without flow monitors, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to pinpoint, assess and mitigate spills.

“Stormwater intrusion into the sewer system is a major source of overflows and spills in our county,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said in the press release.

To prepare for the continued rainfall, county crews are:

– Monitoring weather predictions, including rainfall amounts and wind gusts.

– Deploying additional crews for key response and service areas, including dispatch, spill response, plant operations and maintenance and flow monitoring.

– Fueling generators, vehicles, heavy equipment and pumps.

– Ensuring sufficient warehouse stocking levels for equipment and supplies such as rain suits, gloves, face shields and saws.

– Putting existing contracted vendors on standby to provide additional needed resources and equipment.

Teams of employees are sent out after major storms. Teams are also inspecting stream rights-of-way and sampling water to identify spills, so remediation can begin as soon as possible.

Homeowners can assist with reducing spills by eliminating sources such as illegal connections to sanitary sewer systems and replacing missing and broken sewer clean-out caps.

DeKalb County have crews completed various projects to reduce spills at Meadow Creek Path, the site of repeated spills. This work includes the replacement of a creek crossing and rehabilitation of 48,000 linear feet of pipe upstream to reduce stormwater from entering the system.

Additional capital projects are being designed to upgrade the collection system and the Snapfinger Plant Influent Lift Station that also will reduce sewage from backing up to the site due to downstream constraints.  As these projects require a significant amount of time to plan and design, the county will continue to work to reduce stormwater infiltration and intrusion into the sewer system, the press release says.

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