FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) – The city of Fairhope is recovering from hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages caused by the recent historic flood. One of the hardest hit areas was their waste water treatment plant.
According to Fairhope Mayor Tim Kant, floodwaters from Baldwin County’s rains earlier in the month have caused about $500,000 in damages. Easily half of those damages occurred at the city’s waste water treatment facility. The city is in the process of an $11 million dollar renovation, but the new construction was spared.
“We have a drainage system that goes right along side the sewer plant and that’s where we probably had the largest single location as far as major damage,” Kant said.
Heavy runoff washed out a concrete drainage ditch beside the facility. When that happened, the water undermined the foundation to the UV purification building. This caused it to crack.
Inside the building there are two ultraviolet disinfectors. On average, they run about 2 million gallons of treated sewage through each day. If the building had collapsed, the repair cost would have gone up dramatically.
“The cost of materials and the equipment in there probably approaching two million dollars,” Said superintendent of water and sewer, Dan McCrory.
Other damages around town included some minor road wash-outs, culverts and more erosion of the bluffs overlooking Fairhope’s public beach. This time it happened on private property and repair efforts are underway there.
Mayor Kant said the city’s in good shape paying for the needed repairs thanks to their “rainy day” fund of over $7 million and help coming from outside.
“Eighty seven percent will be paid for by federal and state and the city will have to pay for the rest,” Kant said.
Bids for repairs to the waste water treatment plant will go out on Friday, May 23, 2014.
Although Fairhope did have some of their pump stations go down during the height of the flooding, all are back on line and running. The city hopes to have repairs done to the treatment facility in about a month.