Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New England Flooding

It appears that the floodwaters are beginning to subside.

So far, the largest disruptions appear to be happening in Massachusetts. In addition to property damage, closed roads, and evacuations in the northeastern quarter of the state, flood damage has forced the closing of two wastewater plants, dumping 150 million gallons of sewage into the swollen Merrimack River.

As I work in the water and wastewater treatment field, I have been following this aspect rather closely. The plants themselves are intact, and undamaged. The problem is pipes and powerlines. In Haverhill, MA, the main sewer lines into the plant were exposed and then destroyed by floodwaters; and in Lawrence, MA, floodwaters destroyed the power lines into the plant. In both places, the equipment is ready to go, but the disruptions are going to affect their ability to treat wastewater for some weeks to come. The overall environmental impact is not going to be as bad as one might think - the dilution offered by the massive amount of water in the Merrimack will go a long ways towards mitigating the impact. And while the wastewater plants will need some time to get back to peak efficiency, they will be able to at least partially treat the wastewater as soon as repairs are made.

New Hampshire recieved record rainfall over the entire southern half of the state. The water has now moved on from its earlier peaks, but more rain is expected.

But some of the best information I have been getting is from Maine Man, who lives in York, Maine. (And is okay - his home is located well outside the flood zone.) There, the damage is limited to property damage - flooded homes and businesses, plus some washed-out roads and a collapsed bridge.

The problem is, York depends on tourism, and the area affected by the flooding is the core of the tourist district. They have until Memorial Day (just a week and a half) to clean up - or they are going to lose business.

And it's not over yet.

More Information:
NorthEast Cable News


Post a Comment

<< Home