More rain forecast, will flooding follow? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

More rain forecast, will flooding follow?

Albany-- More rain Wednesday night andThursday will cause some localized flooding in Albany. The problem isn't so much high river levels, but storm drains and holding ponds already full of water.

The Shannon Drive holding pond flooded yards after the Easter weekend rains, and the water hasn't gone down much since then. So public works crews spent the day pumping water out of the pond in hopes of preventing the water from reaching the homes when the rain starts pouring again.

Albany Public Works rented five water pumps, in addition to the four they already had, to lower swollen holding pond across the city, with clouds rolling in while they worked.

"With all the pumping that they've done, it's only taken it down about six inches," said homeowner Shirley Whittle.

Whittle anxiously watches the water in her backyard lower slowly. Last week's rain brought flood waters just a few feet away from her garage. "It really does make you nervous when you see that water creeping up."

Now she's worried that the more rain will flood her home. "I'm thinking about getting some sandbags to put up, just for precaution." To make sure those sandbags aren't need, public works crews are pumping the water out off the pond across the street to another nearby pond and then into the drainage system.

"We should be all right with an inch, but more than an inch, we'll just have to wait and see," said Sewer Division Director Ann Zimmer-Shepherd. She says the problem is all the city's holding ponds and canals are already full, and there's no place for the water to go. "Our maintenance engineer has been watching that all night, turning pumps on and off. So we can try and balance the water in the system as much as we can, so we can give everybody the best opportunity for preventing flooding."

The city was able to open a flood gate, sending water gushing from the 20 Acre Pond near the Liberty Expressway into Kinchafoonee Creek, which is now below the flood stage. That should stop some flooding in the Palymra area. But, the Flint River is still about 6.5 feet above the flood stage, so the out falls are closed.

Storm water will have to be sent to the Joshua Street Sewage Treatment Plant. "We've been taxing the system. The more flow we deal with, the shorter time the water is treated," said Zimmer-Shepherd.

Improperly treated water could spill into the Flint River causing big environmental problems. "But, we're not out of compliance right now." So, it's a balancing act for public works, to stop flash flooding in neighborhoods across Albany, without overloading the storm water and sewage systems.

The Flint River, and Muckalee and Kinchafoonee Creeks are much lower than they were last week. But Emergency Management says people living in low lying areas near the rivers could still see some flooding, mainly in their yards.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com

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