CU Storm Drainage
Updated: Apr 3, 2022
by Maddy Chemers
Champaign and Urbana have recently gotten quite a bit of rain. To prevent street flooding, storm drains are maintained by both cities working with the U-C Sanitary District (UCSD). The UCSD is in charge of the sanitary sewer system and the storm drainage system. The latter is responsible for getting drainage water off the streets and out of people’s yards, then transported and released in a local stream or waterway.
According to Champaign Public Works, the City spends $3 million annually on sewer system upkeep. In addition, Champaign has plans to spend $80 million on future drainage projects in areas that are prone to flooding.
Flooding can occur after prolonged periods of rain. The CU community works to keep the sewer and storm drainage system updated, especially due to climate change effects that lead to an increased amount of rainfall.
Bradley Bennett, Director of Engineering at the UCSD explained that the pipes do not always have the capacity to handle larger amounts of water.
“A wetter, warmer climate is what the climatologists say. The weather definitely is going to impact the storm sewage system because it has to pick up all that water that results from rainfall,” Bennett said.
On top of climate change, the sewage system needs to be updated because many of the pipes themselves are outdated.
“We have sanitary sewers as well as storm sewers in Champaign Urbana that are over a hundred years old. In fact, our oldest sewer we have at the district is what we call our 1898 interceptor and the reason it’s called 1898 is because that was the year it was constructed. So, that’s a pretty old pipe and nothing lasts forever,” Bennett continued, “As things age, they crack, they break, they deteriorate, they collapse.”