City reports drastic reduction in overflows from 2017 to 2019


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The City of Robertsdale has seen a drastic decrease in the amount of wastewater overflowers from 2017 to 2019, according to a report presented during the Monday, Jan. 6 council meeting.

The report, which was presented to Public Works director Scott Gilbert from Chad Taylor, lab technician at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, points to a drastic reduction in system flooding caused by heavy rainfall.

According to the report, 36 system overflows were reported in 2017. Of those, 30 were caused by heavy rainfall flooding the system. Three were caused by power outages or power failure, while four were caused by bypass malfunctions (one of which was caused by excessive rainfall).

In 2018, five were caused by heavy rainfall, while the rest required corrective measures.

In 2019, there were only five overflows reported, only one was caused by heavy rainfall, June 7 on College Avenue.

Others included:

•Jan. 3: Oak Hillcrest manhole, caused by a clogged manhole upstream.

•April 7: Outland Drive lift station, caused by mechanical failure.

•May 13: College Avenue lift station, caused by a failure in response time.

•Oct. 31: Caused by mechanical failure.

In all four of the other cases, corrective maintenance was provided.

In his report, Taylor stated that the reduction in overflows was caused by flooding was caused by a several factors, “a bypass already in place to prevent backup, video camera finding crucial leaks that have now been repaired, changing critical components in lift stations to allow them to run more (efficiently), rehabbing lift stations and adding bypass hookups, upgrading pumps to higher horsepower motors to keep up with high flow demands, and housing developers building and connecting taps that were potentially broken or left open.”

Mayor Charles Murphy said the amount of rainfall the city experienced in 2017 was also a contributing factor.

“Quite simply, we just haven’t had as much rain,” he said. “In 2017, we had over 100 inches of rainfall in the city, Our average yearly rainfall is around 60 inches. I don’t care how good the system is, if you get an excessive amount of rainfall in a short period of time, it is going to overflow the system. The key is to try and minimize the damage and I think we’ve done that over the last few years.”