Rain for Rent emergency flood response in Ft. Wayne

May 2009 Vol. 64 No. 5

On March 10, the Fort Wayne, IN, Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) faced shut-down due to cresting floodwaters. Under normal circumstances, the WWTP would pump its treated water into a 40-acre retention pond from where it would then be gravity fed into the St. Mary’s River.

(Editor's note: For more on industry response to recent flooding, see our coverage of Bobcat's contribution)

By 7:30 p.m. that evening, the river reached a flood level of 16.6 feet, which was the third highest crest in its history, and at an elevation greater than the retention pond. Since gravity feeding the treated water into the river was no longer possible, the WWTP had to figure out how to handle the discharge flow from the sewage of the city’s 250,000 residents. Every inch of discharge represented a million gallons of water – the WWTP needed an emergency temporary pumping solution.

At 10:30 p.m., Rain for Rent received a phone call from a Fort Wayne city engineer requesting a 30-mgd bypass system by the following morning. Within the hour, Rain for Rent personnel designed a pumping system consisting of two 12-inch DV-300, four 8-inch DV-200c, and two 6-inch DV-150i Power Prime pumps, including hoses and fittings. The city approved the estimate and gave authorization to proceed. Rain for Rent immediately went into emergency response mode, called in personnel, assembled and loaded equipment, and sent three semi-trucks to the project site.

When the crew arrived onsite at 4:00 a.m., the retention pond was completely full, and the river was 24 feet above flood level. As soon as the trucks were parked, the equipment was staged between the pond and river and the Rain for Rent team proceeded to hook up suction hoses, suction strainers, elbows, and discharge lines. Within three hours, the system was functioning and the water level had begun to lower.

Rain for Rent managed the installation with assistance from the plant superintendent and municipal workers. Some pumps were left on trailers to save time, keeping them ready and mobile. Fort Wayne is located at the fork of three major rivers and is no stranger to flooding. Rain for Rent supplied 12 additional pumps that were strategically placed throughout the flooded downtown area as backup for the city’s pumps that were breaking down or overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water being moved.