|By John Wisely and Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"As far as the significance of the volumes, this is incredible," said
-- In-depth: Historic rains strand hundreds of cars, flood thousands of homes across metro
DEQ officials are still collecting data to see what happens to E. coli levels in the waterways. Elevated levels are expected and that could prompt beach closures and other public health measures.
Verona said the region's aging infrastructure, including sewer pipes and plants, didn't help matters, but no system could handle the volume of water that fell on
Most places will try to screen out solids and add some disinfecting materials to it but there isn't enough time to treat it to the standards that are used under normal conditions.
"No system is designed to take that amount of water that fast," said Curtrise Garner, spokeswoman for the
The system took in so much water that the pressure in the pipes was enough to lift off manhole covers, said
"I've never heard of that before," he said. "It gives you an idea of how much pressure we're talking about."
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Palombo said the excess water is likely to damage roads by eroding the base they are built upon.
Sewer systems like
Systems that only handle storm water do not run into that problem, he said.
Other local officials defended their systems as well.
"The infrastructure last night worked as it was designed, but it was overwhelmed," said
Covey said local communities, however, must prioritize upkeep and improvements to the systems.
"A rain event like what we had is probably going to overwhelm most systems but that doesn't mean ... we should just shrug our shoulders and say we're good for another 89 years," Covey said.
The huge volume of water brings with it debris that is swept into the system, which can damage gates and other parts of the sewer system as well, Verona said.
Sewage overflows from the city's wastewater treatment system have contributed to