Public Works has things under control - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Public Works has things under control

Albany-- Rain has been falling on South Georgia all day and there has been some localized flooding. But public works officials say they've got the major problems under control.

Public works officials were using it to help move some of the water invading Albany, but now they're flood control structures that keep a lid on water flowing toward the city from the Flint, and at the same time moves the water filling up these canals back out to the river.

Engineering and public works officials say Albany's flood control structures are doing their job. "This is the first time we've been able to test it. Construction was completed in January," said Rod Hutchison of the Albany Engineering Dept. "It's doing the job it's designed for."

That job is to move water away from homes quickly. The outfall gates leading to the Flint River have been closed for several days, leaving water in canals like this one trapped. But the new pumps solve that problem by re-routing water around the gates, essentially pushing it into the Flint. "It's probably ten thousand gallons a minute or more. It's a considerable amount. Those are about 70 horse-power pumps."

Albany has two that are operational now and one that's being constructed in North Albany. They were designed after the flood of 1994. "It's part of the hazard mitigation projects that were funded partially by FEMA and GEMA with some local money," said Hutchison. "Each one of this costs about a million dollars."

The structures may be the one of the best and quickest ways to move water, but public works crews are still working overtime to control localized flooding. Portable pumps around the city have been running non-stop. They too are moving water around the city from stressed out storm water drains to others that aren't as full.

"We're using those pumps to move some of the accumulated water out in anticipation of rains that may be coming our way."

That rain has been coming our way all day. But public works crews have also been working non-stop. They believe with their multi-pronged strategy of pumping water they'll be able to keep a lid on the falling water and the overflowing Flint at the same time.

The outfall gates won't re-open until the Flint drops and it's been rising today. But the magic number is 22 feet. Once it gets there outfall gates will open back up.

Public works officials aren't expecting any major problems, but still have sand bags available for people who need them. Supplies are limited, but you can call the Albany Public works office at 883-6950 for more information.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com

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