Storm repairs to pipes in Tuscaloosa to cost $1.5M to $4M

Local News

Heavy rains fell Monday leaving the Tuscaloosa, Ala., area with high water and washed out roads, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Gideon Altman plays near a flooded section of the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk under the supervision of his mother as waters from the Black Warrior River rise. Children in Tuscaloosa City and County schools got a day off due to the flooding. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Officials in west Alabama’s largest city say they expect to spend $1.5 million to $4 million repairing damage to water and sewer pipes damaged by Tropical Storm Claudette. The storm dumped between 4 and 8 inches (10 and 20 centimeters) of rain on Tuscaloosa Saturday, causing widespread flash flooding.

City officials tell The Tuscaloosa News that they’re still repairing water and sewer pipes near the Black Warrior River. A leak there had caused Mayor Walt Maddox to issue a water conservation order for users south of the river, including more than 100,000 residents, the University of Alabama and the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant. Maddox allowed the order to expire Wednesday, saying the line had been patched up and the water supply had stabilized.

A contractor is rebuilding a slope that collapsed, damaging raw water intake lines that feed a treatment plant.

The most expensive problem may be the failure of a water main and a sewer main near Nucor Corp.’s steel plant, which could cost $1 million.

Jarrod Milligan, acting executive director for Tuscaloosa’s Infrastructure and Public Services department, said a private dam appears to have failed, washing out the line.

“There was a massive amount of dirt and silt that was moved when this line was washed out,” Milligan said, “and when that happened, they fell in.”

Tuscaloosa officials say they hope to seek federal disaster aid to pay for repairs. Typically, damage would have to rise above a certain threshold before President Joe Biden’s administration would declare a disaster and free up aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Surveys by the American Red Cross found 45 homes, mostly in a Northport trailer park, were damaged or destroyed by flooding. As many as 30 displaced people were staying at a shelter at a Northport church.

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