Pass Christian utilities now less vulnerable to flooding

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Pass Christian residents soon won't have to worry about flooding knocking out their water and sewer services for long periods of time. City officials say about 80 percent of the town is in a special flood hazard zone, which can leave utilities vulnerable to rising water.

City officials said in some neighborhoods all it takes is a high tide and a strong rain and the streets go from dry to covered in water.

"Gustav backed up water pretty substantially in the area," said Robert Bahm, a homeowner. "Although my house didn't flood some of the local streets did."

Now flooding doesn't mean home and business owners have to worry they may lose their water service. Pass Christian installed devices to flood proof wells on the low lying west side of town.

"What will happen is that wells will be able to come back on line quicker than we were before," City Attorney Malcolm Jones said. "We won't have to go in and try to make repairs."

Also gone are water damage repairs at Pass Christian lift stations. In the past, workers would have replace water logged electronics, but not anymore.

"We have a quick disconnect on the control panel," said Jones. "We take it out before the threat arrives. When the storm has passed, we can reinstall the control panel. Hook up a generator that we have on wheels and have that system up and moving and ready to go almost immediately after a storm. At least within a day."

Bahm said, "It's marvelous because it gives us an opportunity to come back into our homes as soon as possible. We need water. We do need sewage facilities and it gives us the opportunity to come back fast."

Pass Christian officials said the city has received a $250,000 grant to help buy nearly a dozen generators for lift stations. That way sewer service can go back on line even if the electricity in the area isn't back on.

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