Utilities Working to Recover After Hurricane Harvey

From getting treatment plants fully operational to assessing the damage of underground infrastructure, utilities have a lot of work ahead in the aftermath of the storm
Utilities Working to Recover After Hurricane Harvey
Houston Water's Turkey Creek wastewater treatment facility as it was at the beginning of the week. About 800 treatment facilities in the area impacted by Hurricane Harvey are still trying to get back to full operations. (Photo from Houston Water)

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It’s been over a week since Hurricane Harvey made landfall and utilities on Texas and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast are dealing with the aftermath. Here are some significant numbers:

800 — The number of wastewater treatment facilities not yet fully operational as of the beginning of the week, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

166 — The number of water systems that have customers on boil-water orders, according to the EPA and TCEQ. Another 50 water systems are completely shut down. Those figures are based on contact with 2,300 of the 4,500 systems potentially affected by the storm.

27 trillion — The estimated number of gallons Hurricane Harvey dumped on Texas and Louisiana over a 6-day period. That translates to 51 inches of rain, a record from a tropical cyclone in the continental United States.

6.5 trillion — The number of gallons produced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

11 billion — The number of gallons of sewage overflows produced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, according to a survey by the organization Climate Central. Such figures aren’t yet available for Hurricane Harvey, but it puts into perspective what a storm of this magnitude can do to a collections system.

22,000 — The number of homes the Federal Emergency Management Agency identified in its modeling estimates as having “major” damage (inundated by 5 feet of water or more). As of Sunday, 37,000 people were in shelters across Texas with another 2,000 people sheltered in Louisiana. More than 500,000 people have registered for disaster assistance so far.

Municipal Sewer & Water will be continuing to follow how utilities are dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Harvey. Look for more in-depth stories in the coming weeks.


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