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Rains bring wastewater backflow issues to residents

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 10:06:43-04

After another weekend of rain a common sight started popping up around Corpus Christi; wastewater flowing out into the street, and the same thing happens inside some homes as well.

“When they’re full, just like the street; when the streets are full, your sewer line is probably full,” said plumber Mike Herring.

Herring says he’ll get three to four calls an hour after a heavy rain.  He says he has to tell everyone the same thing.

“When it’s five inches or more we see people calling, and we tell everybody just give it some time,” said Herring.  “Give it a little bit of time and it will go on down.”

City officials recognize the issue, and say there isn’t one specific area which has more trouble than others.

“You do see increased calls due to the inflow and it’s throughout whatever area that significant rain event might have occurred,” said Wesley Nebgen, the city’s Assistant Director for Maintenance of Lines.

According to Nebgen, the city spends $12 million annually on rehabbing infrastructure.  That includes preventative maintenance efforts like using cameras to find problems, smoke testing, and cleaning.

“We have a lot of different tools in our toolbox we can use to remedy the problems,” said Nebgen.

The city wants to eventually replace and upgrade those lines.  In the meantime, plumbers like Herring try to make customers understand the problem.

“Understanding is the biggest part of the battle,” said Herring.  “If you know what’s going on with it, you can deal with it, make adjustments and move on.”

There are steps you can take at home to help prevent backflow issues.  Nebgen suggests making sure inflow sources are capped and covered.

Also, be aware of what you’re putting down the drain, as greases or oils into the system can be especially problematic.