On Wednesday, Aug. 11, the greater Harrisburg area had a deluge of rainfall from a severe thunderstorm that created localized flooding in many neighborhoods. Local rainfall data showed we received almost 2.5 inches, which fell between 1.4 and 1.65 inches in less than 30 minutes in a very short amount of time – about 30 minutes. Several areas within Capital Region Water’s service territory reported localized flooding and sewer backups related to this storm system.
Managing stormwater remains one of the city’s biggest challenges, where outdated infrastructure is unable to convey this amount of rainfall to the treatment plant due to the intensity of the rainfall in such a short period of time. There is no single solution to these stormwater issues, especially as extreme weather events become more frequent, and solutions are often needed from all parties that convey stormwater into CRW’s antiquated system.
For its part, CRW works to repair and maintain almost 4,000 storm drains to prevent local flooding. But those efforts are mitigated by drains that fill with trash or debris. About 60% of Harrisburg drains into a combined sewer system, which collects stormwater and wastewater from homes in the same pipe. The system can be overwhelmed during large rain events. CRW currently is undergoing capital projects to reduce these overflows, even as we address a backlog of deferred maintenance projects that stretches back decades.
What is CRW doing now? Our crews have been working tirelessly to respond to all service calls that came in to our customer service center. Making every effort to resolve issues efficiently and effectively within our collection system. Crews will continue to work on those service calls until all have been addressed.
What can you do to help in your neighborhood? If you know thunderstorms are imminent, check the storm drains on your street. If they are blinded with litter and/or leaves on the top of the drain, clear the debris to allow rainwater to reach the pipes in the drain structure. If there is debris below the surface, call CRW at 888-510-0606 so that we can have our crews clean out the structure.
We all should do our part and we cannot do it without YOU.