Rain water can be too much for sewage pipes — How do water companies help?

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – When meteorologists think of severe weather, we think tornadoes, wind and hail. When water companies such as MAWSS think of severe weather, their minds go to heavy rainfall since that is what affects their water and sewage systems.

To keep tabs on how much rain is falling and at what rate, MAWSS has 20 rain gauges spread across the Mobile area to measure rainfall. This is in addition to flow and level monitors on the pipes themselves that alert them if the pipe is over capacity.

Doug Nale explains that it is heavy rain in a short amount of time they worry about. He says, “A two or three inch rain event over the course of two or three days may not affect our system to the same level as a one inch rainfall in 15 minutes may have.”

Daryl Russel is the Water and Sewer Engineering Manager at MAWSS and explains how they use storage tanks and basins (Severe Weather Attenuation Basins and Tanks) when the rain water and the sewage water become too much for the pipes to handle.

Russell explains, “We will take water during severe weather events, heavy rains, and transfer those out of the pipes and into these basins or tanks.”

When the rain event is done and the pipes are flowing normally, MAWSS takes the water from the tanks and basins and send them to their plants. These tanks and basins hold millions of gallons of water and are still being constructed across the Mobile area.

Check out the video for more details!

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