Raleigh replacing pipes to keep sewage out of flood waters

(CBS North Carolina)


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The City of Raleigh is spending millions of dollars to prevent sewage from spilling into creeks and streams when there’s flooding. It’s an issue we saw last month when the city was under feet of water in some places. Millions of gallons of sewage got mixed in with some of that water.

The city says the size of the sewage pipes is causing this problem. When a large amount of storm water flows into sewage pipes, they aren’t big enough to handle the stress. Sewage can then spill into whatever body of water is nearby, including flood waters.

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Bryan Ramos, owner of Bryan’s Auto Repair off Wake Forest Road, said he was flooded during hurricane Matthew and again in April. Last month’s flooding caused damage to his building, equipment and cars. He’s already worried about the rain expected this week.

“I already start to see if I can move my cars out of here,” said Ramos.

Flood waters are also damaging to sewage pipes. Over three days in April, 24 separate spills were reported from various sewage pipes, man holes and pump stations.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says more than 10.5 million gallons of sewage mixed into flood waters. The city of Raleigh is spending $400 million over ten years to replace miles of sewage pipes with bigger or better versions.

Ramos says it’s not very comforting to know that his shop will still be flooded, just with cleaner water.

“We don’t need this that you can fix one part of the problem. We need to get fixed the whole problem,” said Ramos.

But, with his shop in a flood plain, Ramos will just have to hope the skies stay clear.

Several projects to install larger pipes along the Neuse River and Crabtree Creek are already in progress. By fiscal year 2020 the city will have more than 30 miles of sewage pipes replaced.

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