M’boro Council receives Irene update

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MURFREESBORO — While most citizens here rode out Hurricane Irene in the safety of their own home, it’s what was going on behind the scenes they might not know about.

Murfreesboro Public Works Superintendent Ben Warren recently gave a report to Town Council members on the inner workings of the department during the storm.

He said the town received 12.72 inches of rain between August 26 and 28.

“Due to the high winds and rains during the storm we had numerous limbs and trees fall on homes and electrical lines,” he said. “It caused the loss of power to the entire town, including all 17 of our lift stations, which is what transports wastewater from residential areas to the wastewater treatment plant.”

Warren said without electrical power that system to the WWTP stops. The town’s essential services continued to operate with the help of four permanent and four portable generators as well as two wastewater transfer pumps.

Meanwhile, the WWTP did not sustain damage, but ran on generator power for four days. The lagoons were at their lowest level of the year before the storm hit and were able to handle the 2.5 million gallons of influent flow over the three days during and after the storm. Warren said the storage lagoon was nearly empty and still has the capacity for approximately 40 million gallons for the wet winter months.

Warren said during the storm’s heavy rainfall, Murfreesboro’s collection system was overwhelmed, causing a spill of untreated waste in various areas in town. He said a total 800 gallons was spilled and the North Carolina Division of Water Quality was notified.

“We didn’t have any adverse affects. We didn’t have any fish kills attributed to our wastewater,” he said.

Councilman Bill Theodorakis commended Warren for his report.

“This report is one of the better ones we’ve had in a long time,” he said.

Theodorakis added most of the time the town’s citizens don’t see the “big picture” of what goes on with having to work with different state agencies during a weather event.

“People don’t understand what happens with the Police Department and Public Works. They just don’t see it,” he said.