Town of Tonawanda water resources director says systems aren’t designed for storm like Saturday’s


TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — People are still dealing with the aftermath of weekend flooding after what some are calling a 200 year rain storm.

Michael Kessler is the director of water resources for the town of Tonawanda. He said all eight lift stations in the town performed at 100% capacity all day Saturday and his team worked hard.

“During the storm everything functioned the way it could to the maximum capacity there was no other place for us to put water,” Kessler said.

Jim Stone lives in the city of Tonawanda and still had water in his basement along with several other town and city residents.

“I had about four inches of water and it was still coming in then mid afternoon my sump pump stopped working. Luckily I had no sewer backup,” Stone said.

His neighbors had sewage and they’re still dealing with it today. So if everything on the town’s end went well, why the flooding?

“You’re getting intrusion and infiltration from things like downspouts that are plumbed in. We currently have millions of dollars being spent removing the I&I and fixing those pipes so that those connections are no longer coming into our system,” Kessler said.

He also said the systems are designed for a 30 year storm, nothing near the 200 year storm that happened Saturday.

He said in the meantime it’s a good idea to remove downspouts from going into the drain tile in the house. Kessler also said houses weren’t designed for toilets, showers, or sinks in basements and they need specific plumbing.

He also said people need to stop flushing things down the toilet that don’t belong there.

“Stop flushing things that don’t belong in the sanitary system, the wipes, the diapers, the feminine products.”

He said the town will continue to invest money to ensure the systems are up to date and the best quality they can be for residents.

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