As Tropical Storm Hermine approaches, its important to recognize that citizens have been known to open up sanitary sewer manhole covers in an attempt to drain flood waters. Tropical Storm Erika in August, 2015 saw such activity. In as little as six inches of swift moving water, an adult person can be knocked off their feet. Opening up the manhole cover can cause an inrush of groundwater that can suck in persons and debris causing drowning and loss of life.
The opening of a manhole cover by any person other than BGJWSC staff is a violation of local, state, and Federal regulations, punishable by severe fines and/or imprisonment. Doing so may or may not alleviate immediate problems with water standing in the street but will most certainly cause greater problems with the wastewater collection system and inundate the wastewater treatment plant. Law enforcement is aware of the situation and will be monitoring for report to our staff.
The BGJWSC recognizes the urgency of opening up roadways to vehicular traffic but we stress that opening up the manholes is NEVER a means to facilitate that process. Our crews will be standing by during any inclement weather event to assist where needed.