Jefferson County commissioners discuss flooding problems

JeffCo sewer, storm water drain back up preparations

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County is expecting a lot of rain this week and the problems that is expected to cause.

On Tuesday, Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens said he hopes the weather forecast is wrong. Commissioners are trying to fix the drainage issues, but sometimes it’s more than they can handle.

County officials point to past reports going back seventy years warning about developments in areas where flooding could happen. The county is upgrading its sewer system and storm drain system to handle heavy rains, but even county commissioners admit there is a limit to how much rain it can handle.

There are concerns about rains impacting county roadways.

“We have a lot of floods that are taking place in Jefferson County and one thing it is doing is eroding the roads,” Commissioner Lashunda Scales said.

The county has made progress in addressing storm water drainage, but future improvements will take time. “We are talking about a generational change. It took several decades to get into this situation we are in,” Stephens said.

Crews ready to help with flooding issues

Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said where there is a lot of rain the storm drains may not be able to handle it. Another issue is sewer overflows. The county is under a federal court order to improve sewer pipes. Petelos said he is also concerned about road issues with the wet system hitting the county all week.

“They are talking about winds speeds up to 30 miles per hour. The ground is already saturated. More rain is going to be saturated. We are getting the chainsaws ready. We are getting the trucks ready. I’m sure we will have trees falling across roadways,” Petelos said.

If you know of a road issue with falling trees, you’re asked to contact the county.

Petelos said like a tornado, in many cases, there is nothing they can do to stop the damage but can help in the aftermath to clean up the destruction.

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