Lessons learned: Protections added since 1994 flood still work - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lessons learned: Protections added since 1994 flood still work

Lessons learned from the 1994 and 1998 floods helped protect Albany properties during the most recent flood. Lessons learned from the 1994 and 1998 floods helped protect Albany properties during the most recent flood.
Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson is glad Albany didn't have a single house with water in it in the recent flooding. Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson is glad Albany didn't have a single house with water in it in the recent flooding.
"What we learned is that some of the things we have in place really work," said EMA Director Ron Rowe. "What we learned is that some of the things we have in place really work," said EMA Director Ron Rowe.
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Lessons learned from the 1994 and 1998 floods helped protect Albany properties during the most recent flood.

City leaders recently congratulated emergency management employees who worked around the clock for 14 days straight.

Parts of the city, like Ebony Lane are quite different looking from just days earlier with more than 32 feet of flood water.

Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson is glad Albany didn't have a single house with water in it in the recent flooding.

But that wasn't a stroke of luck.

"The lessons we learned in the '98 and '94 and also the hazard mitigation structures we put on the southside after the '98 [flood] helped a lot because previously with a 32 foot river we would have had a lot of problems," said Roberson.

Those problems were avoided, in large part, because of two major structures built with FEMA money. 

One of them is a pump system on Joshua Street, which moved water out of the city when rain hit the region Friday, dumping additional water on an already flooded river.

Another benefit comes from the waste water treatment plant.

"We normally run an average daily flow of 12 to 13 million gallons a day through that plant; at the height of the flood we were over 90 million gallons [per day]."

The city's largest customer, Proctor & Gamble, and other large industries like M&M Mars and MillerCoors were notified of the high water situation and cooperated by keeping their sewer usage down.

"What we learned is that some of the things we have in place really work," said EMA Director Ron Rowe.

The city has a checklist they follow, and is adjusted with every additional foot of water on the Flint River.

A surprise for crews this time was when creeks in Lee County rose much more quickly before the Flint did.

The lessons learned from that experience will be incorporated into future flood mitigation plans.

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