Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Of grease in drains and watching the creeks rise in Charlotte

Here’s why you shouldn’t pour grease down the drain.

In heavy rains, the large sewer lines can back up from road and yard runoff, and then water backs up into the smaller tributary lines. If those lines are clogged with grease, the sewers can back up through the manholes into streets and elsewhere. (Yeah. "Elsewhere" could be nasty.)

This manhole at 2920 Central Avenue at the intersection of Arnold Drive overflowed Wednesday morning as the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved through Charlotte.

Forecasters are predicting more rain today and possibly Thursday. Homes near Briar Creek along Masonic Drive and at the end of Harbinger Court have been bought out or raised because of past problems with flooding, and Briar Creek generally does not overflow on to Central Avenue.

The only time I’ve seen that happen is when the remnants of Hurricane Faye came through in August 2008. There’s a Flickr stream of photos from that flood.

The bottom photo shows Briar Creek at 2900 Central Avenue on Wednesday morning about 10 a.m. I’ve seen it go higher without problems.

You can keep an eye yourself on the rain gauge along Briar Creek provided by the U.S. Geological Survey in real time. (Note to self: Look up and find out whether it’s officially “gage” or “gauge” when used by USGS.)

And remember: Stay out of floodwaters.

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