Council approves 200 catch basin covers to protect against heavy rains

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 20, 2018

 The Berkley City Council has approved the purchase of 200 restricted catch basin covers to help prevent an overflow of water from entering the sewer system in case of a heavy rain event.

The Berkley City Council has approved the purchase of 200 restricted catch basin covers to help prevent an overflow of water from entering the sewer system in case of a heavy rain event.

Photo provided by Derrick Schueller

BERKLEY — Heavy rainfall and flooding have been a major concern with Berkley residents since last year’s rain event in August, when the sewer system flooded into people’s homes.

In another effort to try to prevent an event like that from occurring again, the City Council approved during a meeting Feb. 5 the purchase of 200 restricted catch basin covers.

The purchase came as part of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment/Sewer Capacity Study and was recommended by the engineering firm Hubbell, Roth & Clark. Restricted catch basin covers help slow the amount of water that flows into the sewer system.

“Our climate change adaptability plan, as you may recall, one of the initial phases of that plan was to put additional restricted covers in our sewer system and to do that rather quickly,” Department of Public Works. Director Derrick Schueller said. “The study itself won’t be done until April, but we’re looking to, as soon as the weather turns, put some additional restricted covers on our system, and there may be more forthcoming after the completion of this study as well, but this is sort of that first step.”

Schueller said it will take four to six weeks to get the covers, and the city will work with HRC to put them on the catch basins. The exact locations have yet to be determined.

As noted during the meeting, the city has 1,800 catch basins and 800 covers on them. These 200 will bring the number to 1,000.

The catch basin covers, Schueller said, will increase the water in the street during intense rain events.

“We’ve already seen it in a lot of areas, and this will certainly increase that. We’ve got to be conscious of that,” he said.

When asked what will happen to the old manhole covers, Schueller said the city will be holding onto them for a short period of time just to have them on hand.

“Ultimately they will be recycled for scrap, but we’re going to hold on to them for a little while, probably until the study’s complete and we have those full recommendations,” he said.

Schueller also noted that water standing in the road after a rain event has passed might happen, as it’s not uncommon for debris to cover those structures. 

“We would recommend they contact the DPW — if it’s after hours, public safety — and we can come out, clear those covers to get things flowing again,” he said. “Obviously, I know we have residents that take it upon themselves to clear those basins. We just want everybody to be safe. When you can’t see what’s underneath there, steeping around there, it’s easy to turn an ankle or have something else happen. I’d rather just leave it to the DPW.”

Mayor Dan Terbrack said city officials know how important this is, and he appreciates that they are taking steps to try to control what they can control when it relates to weather.

“It is a very important part of the discussion,” he said. “We cannot just put (the covers) everywhere, obviously, because we need to make sure that the flow is going into the system, and we have to be very careful where we put them, because as you mentioned, water’s going to stand. We don’t want it to back up. We don’t want it to roll downhill or other places. So I think it’s good that we are going to have a strategy instead of just putting these randomly around the city wherever there is not a restricted plate cover right now.”