The recent heavy rainfall in St Louis have provided a major test for St Louis sewer and drain systems, as flood warnings engulfed the area. Following several days of heavy continuous rain, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District have spent the last few days cleaning out drains in preparation for further rainfall.
At the moment, the water flooding has been restricted water logged yards and fields, but the deluge has caused the rivers to threaten to overflow with many of the city storm drains being backed up and flooding roads.
In a show of community spirit, U-Haul in St. Louis is offering residents affected by the heavy rains and flooding around the river in St. Louis, 30 days of U-Box container usage and free self-storage.
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District spokesman Sean Hadley said “We’ve beefed up our staff a little bit. We’ve got standby crews we haven’t gone into what we call emergency operation which is when we would activate the pump stations but the river hasn’t gotten to that level yet,”
Rainfall in in St Louis metro region has been ranging from an inch to over two inches with more rainfall predicted over the coming days. The National Weather Service has issued a number of flood warnings whilst residents and authorities are monitoring multiple streams in central and eastern Missouri.
Last year a plan was put in place to address the increased flooding amongst communities along the Mississippi river, however there has been some disagreement between municipalities in its implementation with many local municipalities taking it upon themselves to implement their own flood prevention systems.
On a residential level, many homeowners in St Louis face an annual battle to ensure their homes are ready for the spring rains. Local company, Nu Flow St Louis provide solutions to the aging pipes of Missouri which cover over 24000 square miles. A lot of their work is focused on repairing the damage caused by the ageing infrastructure of Missouri with the average age of buildings being around 45 years old. Many of the damaged pipes and drains have been targeted for repair as part of a 5 year plan launched by local authorities two years ago.
Whilst many regard the floods of ’93 as a watershed moment for investing in flood prevention in St Louis and Missouri, residents, environmentalists and authorities are expressing grave concerns that lessons are not being learned and that we are only one bad winter of rain away from another New Orleans disaster.
One positive from the recent heavy rains is the end of the severe drought that was affecting the region in 2017. The 7.12 of rain fall in March, has eased the fears that the unusually dry conditions of last summer brought.
With 3-5 inches of rain predicted for the coming week, all eyes will be on the flood prevention systems and whether or not all we will see in the St Louis area is indeed, a few water logged back yards.