FOX47 NEWS - Reservoir Overflows Into Madison Neighborhood

Jeff Angileri
Sep 15, 2008, 10:14 PM

It was a very wet afternoon for some people in Madison's west side, when overflow from a nearby water tower spilled through the neighborhood. And it's not the first time.

The problem was due to simple human error. A spokesperson with Madison Water Utility says a worker at the controls did not notice the warning signal, alerting him that the reservoir was full.

One of the wells kept pumping water into the 4-million-gallon holding tank, and eventually the excess water poured over the emergency spillway, flooding down to the homes below.

At least two homes had standing water in their back yards, with water pouring down neighborhood streets.

Utility officials say they're working to prevent this from happening again by switching over all the city's reservoirs to an electronic system.

The new control system would automatically shut off pumps like that, rather than waiting for a human being to notice the problem and shut it off manually, said utility spokesperson Gail Gawenda.

The switchover is expensive, so the conversion is happening slowly. The water supply manager says it would cost $2 million to convert all of the city's two dozen or so wells.

Another option the utility is considering is a spillway pipeline. It would connect directly to the storm sewers, so excess water would go there instead of people's backyards.

People in the Newbery Heights neighborhood say the runoff has happened seven or eight times in the past ten years.

A representative from the water utility was in the area today - checking for possible damages.

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