Streets and Parks Department personnel are reportedly getting "badgered" in the aftermath of the street flooding occurring Saturday night.
"Our guys are getting badgered," William C. Wright, general manager of city Streets and Parks Department told the Sun-Gazette late Tuesday afternoon.
Wright expressed sympathy for those whose sustained losses, but said the volume of rain was beyond human control.
Wright said he started to telephone workers in and by the time he contacted everyone on the list about 10 were in the trucks and on streets working. He said that's about half of the department staff and they will get overtime.
"They are getting time and a half for Saturday and double time Sunday," he said.
Curb lines along city streets had leaves and tree debris from Thursday's storm, a storm that brought high winds and heavy rain that resulted in downed trees and limbs.
Following Thursday's storm, work crews continued clearing debris and removing tree limbs into the evening, until darkness became a safety issue, removing trees and opening streets, he said.
On Friday, crews continued to pickup brush, removing debris at the Grafius Run trash racks located at Freedom Road and Highland Terrace and cleaning inlets in the areas of heavy debris.
"I'm quite sure we may have not gotten to every inlet in the city," Wright said adding that he's worked in the city for nearly 40 years, the first 20 as the flood control project manager, and never experienced that amount of runoff in such a short period.
"Manholes were blowing off with water pushing up and out from the surcharge of the conduits causing additional flooding."
Storm water and sanitary lines were overwhelmed by the volume of rain, which was recorded at 3.57 inches by about 7 p.m.
That's three-quarters-of-an-inch every 15 minutes, severely impacting the Grafius Run and Cemetery Run watersheds, according to Wright.
Much of the city's older drainage system has been designed for the 100 year storm or less and the flow exceed the capacity to handle it.
"In the case of clogged inlets, conduits that are surcharged with manhole lids blowing off just can't take any more water until the flow begins to slow down," he said.
"In only a matter of minutes from the intense runoff, most storm inlets were clogged resulting in surface flooding, in some cases where this never normally occurs." "In this case, it was too much, too fast," Wright said.
There was little, if any, warning, either. The Williamsport Municipal Water Authority's rain gauge located at the balancing reservoir at Packer Street and Grampian Boulevard were not a problem prior to Saturday.
Wright said a few residents are also wondering why the flood pumps were not operating during the storm.
When the river elevation was at 1.9 feet Saturday evening, storm water conduits are able to discharge the maximum flow by gravity.
Flood control pump stations are not setup until the river level reaches 9 to 10 feet - when head pressure from the river elevation reduces the amount of discharge that can be pass by gravity flow.
In addition, it takes several hours to setup the stations for operation when needed, Wright said.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said he will meet today with Wright and others in his department to go over damage assessment and expenses.