Cleveland, Tenn., flood and sewer problems under study

Cleveland, Tenn., flood and sewer problems under study

October 17th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Flooding in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The city has been dealing with flooding and sewer problems for many years.

In the wake of September's two deluges and the resulting flooding and sewer backups, Cleveland Utilities and the city are mapping the trouble spots once again.

On Nov. 14, City Council members and city department heads will hold a planning strategy meeting on many local needs, including flooding.

"We will have a formalized plan that I hope to roll out at that meeting," Cleveland Utilities General Manager Tom Wheeler said.

Dozens of people brought their flooding problems before the City Council after the September rains. Development in flood plains combined with historically heavy rains last month were part of the problem this time, city officials said.

The city and Cleveland Utilities are comparing the areas that historically flood with September's areas to see where the new ones are, why they happened and what can be done.

"It goes back to a situation we have been dealing with since the 1970s, inflow and infiltration," Wheeler said. "That occurs primarily when the creeks and streams get out of their banks."

Heavy rain without flooding usually brings no sewer problems in those troubled areas, he said. The 10 million-gallon tank on Mouse Creek near Yates Primary School collects sewer overflow during such rains.

"A lot of people thought that was for floodwater," said Mayor Tom Rowland.

The tank slowly releases into the sewer system once the flooding recedes, said Councilman David May.

"We are looking for some short-term solutions for individual property owners, too," May said.