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MAWSS unveils storm runoff plan

The overflow from storm water inundating the sewer system is result of aging pipes.

With Mobile being one of the rainiest cities in the country, and a city that is prone to hurricanes, a new system aims to alleviate some of the sewer overflows we experience.

Douglass Cote, Assistant Director of Operations for MAWSS says a change is overdue.

"We've just gotten to the point where we can no longer just patch," said Cote.

The overflow from storm water inundating the sewer system is result of aging pipes.

Repairing and replacing these pipes can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and MAWSS needs a solution now.

That’s why the utility company created a system where it can temporarily redirect the excess water flows from the sewer system.

"What these systems do is they allow us to pull the water off of the collection system during the rain event and store it so that it doesn’t exit the manholes. Then, when the rain subsides and the flows in the sewer subside, we drain the facilities back in the sewer and send it to the treatment plant for treatment," said Cote.

SWAB is an acronym for Severe Weather Attenuation Basin. It's one of three projects that MAWSS is working on to stop the overflows.

MAWSS customers' bills will go up to pay for it all. NBC 15 asked MAWSS just how much rate payers bills will increase because of this project. MAWSS says that number has not yet been determined.

"Years ago the Federal Government would have grants to address those issues, but those have long since ended, and our only approach to addressing this issue is through our rate payers, we do not receive tax money," said Cote.

Two more of the SWAB systems will be built, one along Three Mile Creek and another in the Eslava Creek/Dog River area.

MAWSS hopes to have this project at Halls Mill Creek completed by April 2018.

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