2016-05-26 / Opinion

Try Simple Solutions First

To the Editor:

In response to Rep. Carson’s recent letter (“Rhode Island Must Build Smarter,” May 19), I offer that during the Sandy storm, the sea wall in my area was never breached. The sea water simply backflowed through the storm drains.

A couple of years back, I contacted the Water Department and the city with an idea to install check valves. I was told the valves would not work when submerged during high tide.

However, there is apparently existing technology that will allow stormwater to drain even when the outflow is underwater at high tide, while at the same time preventing water from flowing in the opposite direction.

In an article I found, a city in Michigan installed a duckbill check valve to help prevent the backflow. The community needed an inline check valve that would be out of the flow path, prevent backflow and open with positive gravity flow to drain the storm line. An all-rubber construction was preferred, so there was minimal maintenance and would be durable in submerged or weather-exposed conditions. A product called a Tideflex CheckMate inline check valve was found and provided the city with the solution that it needed. The CheckMate has an all-rubber design that opens with as little as one inch of head pressure. It slips entirely inside the pipe and seals tightly in up to 40 feet of back pressure with no leakage. Installation is supposedly simple and fast, and there are no mechanical parts to maintain.

Using the CheckMate, the Michigan community was able to prevent stormwater backflow from the storm drain from submerging streets and surrounding properties. The inline design removed the valve from the surge path, protecting it and making it nearly unnoticeable to the public.

The costs of flooding in Newport last time were considerable, and will likely happen again. This would be a very inexpensive improvement in comparison to many other solutions that are being considered by various state and federal agencies.

People want to spend billions of dollars on global warming and sea level rise, but in the meantime they ignore the simple stuff.

Ben Riggs

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