Sanitary Board Works With MU on Basement Flooding

Updated 5 years ago Edited from a Press Release
Sanitary Board Works With MU on Basement Flooding

The Huntington Sanitary Board has announced that it is working with  a Marshall University civil engineering class to analyze a five block section of a southside neighborhood and its rain-induced sewage backups.

Dr. Issac Wait's Hydrologic Engineering class is currently modeling and studying the effect of rain on the combined sewer between Second Street and Seventh Street, which serves the south side of Ninth Avenue and the north side of Tenth Avenue. The Sanitary Board plans to use the results of the study to encourage residents to voluntarily detach their downspouts from the sewer system.

The five-block area was chosen because its sewershed has the highest ratio of rainwater intrusion , as well as having documented sewage backups during rainstorms. This neighborhood has large front yards where rain from detached downspouts could potentially go.

Mayor Wolfe, chairman of the Sanitary Board, stated this collaborative effort continues his approach of making Huntington both safe and cleaner. "Reducing basement backups is a quality of life issue, it's an economic issue, and it's one that is important to fix in Huntington. We're happy that Marshall is contributing to this effort. The goal is to find an approach that works in this small section, then replicate it throughout the city where problems exist."

Kit Anderson, executive director of the Sanitary Board, stated that systematically detaching downspouts can be the cheapest, most effective way to reduce basement backups in a neighborhood. "It's easy to convince residents who are getting sewage backups in their basement to disconnect their downspouts. It's not so easy to convince their upstream neighbors who aren't having problems to do the same. But getting people without backup problems to detach their downspouts is where the greatest difference will come from."

Anderson also lauded the continued participation of Dr. Issac Wait: "Without doubt, he's one of Marshall's star professors , and is committed to bringing real life challenges to help his students learn." In 2011, Wait's class studied the West End neighborhood of Chase Street, and concluded that efforts to detach downspouts would not appreciably reduce basement backups.

Working with Marshall is something that Anderson would like to do more frequently. "We would like to sponsor a contest to design and build an artful and beautiful way to store or distribute rainwater from downspouts. There's a big market to improve the aesthetics and effectiveness of blue plastic rainbarrels and black plastic pipe, which are the typical methods people use when they disconnect downspouts," Anderson said.

For more information, contact Erica Thompson, CSO Coordinator of the HSB, or (304) 696-5564.



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