During the height of Tuesday's flash flooding, potentially millions of gallons of untreated sewage was dumped into Ley Creek and Onondaga Lake. But overall, acting Water Environment Commissioner Mike Lannon says Onondaga County's sanitation system performed "very well."
Yesterday's rainfall taxed sewer and storm drains to the limit, but only 2 of the 150 pump stations throughout the county were overwhelmed. Lannon says the pump station at Ley Creek which normally handles 10-11 million gallons of sewage per day was forced to 50 million gallons during the height of the storm.
Complicating matters was the fact that Ley Creek itself flooded the pump station. Lannon says workers at that point were forced to bypass untreated sewage directly into the creek. Another pump station by the State Fairgrounds also was forced to bypass untreated sewage into Onondaga Lake. Lannon says it was either that or allowing sewage to back up into homes and businesses.
"It was an emergency situation... we had to do something to protect the system upstream to prevent basement flooding and things like that." Lannon told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.
Lannon credits his staff for working 16-17 hours straight to keep the drainage and sanitation system working through the night. He's worried that another round of storms could tax the system even more.