MADISON (WKOW)-- With the heavy amounts of rain water on city streets, urban flooding is becoming a concern in the Madison area. Sewer systems are designed to handle heavy amounts of water, but many wonder if they can keep up with so much rain.
Madison city officials say the system has been able to handle the rain water from the past few days, but depending on how much rain falls Wednesday night and Thursday morning, flooded streets and homes are a possibility.
"If we get a heavy downpour that could be a much different situation," Assistant City Engineer Michael Dailey says.
When it comes to flooded streets, officials say there are two main causes. Those concerns include drain blockage and flow patterns. So far, both appear to be non-issues. The sewer system is keeping up with the rain water and drains are staying clear.
"Most of the debris and plugging that could occur has occurred and has already been cleaned up by us or flushed out of the system," Dailey says.
However, with more than 275 miles of sewer and thousands of drain inlets, there's bound to be a few problem areas with water backing up into the streets.
"I would tell people that if they have a storm sewer inlet by their house, go out and take a look at it," George Dreckmann of the Madison Streets Department says. "If there are leaves or other things there, you should remove it."
People who live in low areas should pay even more attention to their property. With the ground saturated with rain water and melted snow, there's not much it can do to stop the running water.
When you add that to the fact that Madison lake levels are higher than normal, things could get bad quickly. It all depends on the amount of rain that falls.
"It takes a day or two for that water to rush down from the North and start flowing through the Madison chain of lakes," Dreckmann says.
The city of Madison has decided to make sand and ready-to-fill sand bags available to all city residents. Homeowners who live near lakes Mendota and Monona or live in low-lying areas are at an even higher risk of flooding.
Sand can be picked up at one of seven locations across town including:
-Engineering Service Building (1600 Emil Street)
-Esther Beach Parking Lot (2802 Waunona Way)
-Olin Park Parking Lot (1155 Olin-Turville Court)
-Olbrich Park Boat Launch Parking Lot
-Spring Harbor School Parking Lot (1918 Norman Way)
-Tenney Park Beach Parking Lot (1254 Sherman Avenue)
-Warner Park Beach Parking Lot (1101 Woodward Drive)
Residents are advised to bring their own shovels for loading the sandbags. They are also responsible for loading the sandbags themselves.