Employees at the Knox Wastewater Treatment Plant put in quite a bit of overtime during last week’s torrential downpour. Superintendent Kelly Clemons says it brought in 8.2 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Of that, more than 7 inches fell between 5:30 and 11:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 15. Clemons told the board of works Wednesday employees spent the night at the plant to ensure everything was operating properly. She says flow returned to more normal levels around 7 a.m. the following day.
“At one point we went out and checked manholes, and we were within a couple feet of the top of those manholes. We pumped through as much as we could as quick as we could. That’s just a lot of water.”
Clemons says part of the problem was a broken 6 inch clean out at the south end of town, which sent quite a bit of water through the Clabaugh Drive lift station. That issue has since been fixed by the property owner. Sump pumps that are improperly tied into the sewer system also contributed to the excess capacity.
“During that rain we took in an additional 500,000 gallons of water. We were running 375,000 gallons a day on our effluent, and we processed 875,000 gallons in the 24 hour period, so it was over 500,000 gallons,” Clemons said.
The storm also caused damage to the plant’s UV system, which operates on 480 volts of electricity. Clemons says a telephone support technician helped with a temporary fix. A service tech is scheduled to come out and make repairs next week.