How you can help overwhelmed drainage systems

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As more rain is anticipated Thursday night into early Friday morning, NEW Water and the City of Green Bay are doing what they can to prepare the pipes to take on even more water.

Street flooding on Main Street in Green Bay. Sept. 11, 2019 (WBAY Photo)

One area known to flood is along the East River, but many areas were underwater Wednesday due to the stressed sewer system.

Stressed sewer pipes prompted messages across social media on Wednesday asking people to hold off running the washing machine or dishwasher.

"Individually there's not a lot that happens from each washing machine, but when you look across our entire 250-mile service area, a lot of people doing a little bit can make a difference," NEW Water executive director Tom Sigmund said.

On average, NEW Water processes about 40 million gallons of water each day, but heavy rains are sending two to three times as much clear water, or clean water, into the system this week.

"So the difference between 40 and [90 or 135 million gallons] is all clear water, so that's water that shouldn't be coming into the system," Sigmund said.

There are steps you can take to keep excess water out of the sanitation system.

"The main thing at this point is to make sure there's not a source of clear water coming into the sewer that shouldn't be there, such as sump pump discharge or foundation drains. Those are prohibited," Sigmund said.

As people take preventive steps, the city is taking proactive steps.

"There are some areas around the city where we have mitigated some high water issues by helping sandbag," Chris Pirlot, Green Bay operations manager, said.

"So we have to maintain lift stations and make sure everything is working," Pirlot continued. "There are some low lying areas of the city that you can build as many storm sewers that you need, but there's always the potential for standing water."

A reminder, if you do come upon standing water in a roadway, turn around. It's better not to drive through. Especially at night, the water's depth and speed can be deceiving.



 
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