MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- When there is rain, there is almost always sewer overflows in our area, but some new MAWSS upgrades aims to keep sewage out of Three Mile Creek and some other areas.
On Wednesday as flooding rains stormed into the area it put two new MAWSS severe weather tanks to the test.
“Right now, we’re pumping about 12,000 gallons a minute into the tanks,” said Terry Herman, MAWSS lift station supervisor.
As downpours drenched Mobile, MAWSS diverted wastewater to giant green tanks near Pleasant Avenue and St Stephens Road. The tanks are right next to Three Mile Creek and will store sewage until the rain is over and there is capacity at treatment facilities.
Last month during Hurricane Ida, the tanks were put to their first big test since going online in April.
Both tanks were filled to capacity. Each can hold 10 million gallons.
MAWSS says during Ida less one million gallons spilled throughout their system, less than 10,000 of that went into Three Mile Creek.
Those numbers a huge improvement from years ago.
“I’m not saying all of it would end up in the creek, but a large percentage of that was mitigated from going into the creek by storing it,” Herman said.
In all MAWSS has four of these types of tanks in their system with two more in the planning process. They also have a severe weather basin near Halls Mill Creek that can store 21 million gallons.
Cade Kistler, Mobile Bay keeper an Interim Director of Mobile Baykeeper, says MAWSS has been working hard to fix issues with aging infrastructure.
“Any amount is not good, but definitely seeing these huge reductions we feel encouraged not only is MAWSS really working toward long term solutions, but that other utilities can achieve this same success,” he said.
Back at the storage tanks, MAWSS says the tanks have stopped overflows in the area.
Herman is happy with the fixes as they work every day to make the system better and keep sewage out of waterways.
“It brings a lot of pride to all of us, 21 years up until these tanks were put into operation, I can remember overflows every time we have a significant rain event,” Herman said.
MAWSS says they have spent millions on these upgrades with even more planned in the future.