Wet Weather/Sewer Infrastucture

Wet weather issues present numerous challenges to public works and sewer agencies across the United States. Communities fortunate enough to have reliable public water and sewer service have invested valuable resources into protecting their infrastructure, including maintaining and preserving the integrity of piping networks. When severe storms strike or when drastic temperature swings cause significant amounts of snow or ice to melt in a relatively short timeframe, and depending on the level of ground saturation, the extent of paved surface, geology and topography, isolated neighborhoods can quickly be inundated with surface flooding or sewer overflows, or both.

Knowing in advance what the infrastructure's physical inventory consists of for a given sanitary sewer system or a combined sewer system, and the condition of the pipes, coupled with an on-going operations and maintenance and capital improvement programs, positions a utility in a much better position to continue to provide reliable and cost-effective service than compared with an agency which has substantially deferred maintenance or diverted resources for other uses.

Incorporating common-sense practices into daily or routine operations can offer many advantages to a utility operator. Paying attention to what might appear to be inconsequential visual signs of pending trouble include having the mobile crews report in a timely manner areas where roadway pavement exhibits distress. Who knows, a manhole, inlet or roadway section may be subjected to undermining below grade from a nearby lot which was recently razed as part of an urban renewal or empowerment zone project and where the water service was not disconnected. So as the water service leaks and then seeks out the path of least resistance, the adjacent underground utility installations are threatened because of this unseen surface problem yet hundreds of travelers may be passing overhead unsuspecting to what is occurring underground.