ORLANDO, Fla. — The City of Orlando is asking people to continue limiting water usage through at least the end of Monday.
The request comes after over-demand on the sewage system caused damage over the weekend.
Other municipalities in Brevard and Flagler counties issued such warnings to residents before damage could occur. However, in Orlando, the first warning only came hours after a main break that forced sewage out into lakes and streets near certain lift stations.
Shan Atkins lives on Lake Rowena and says she notified the city when things started to bubble up at a nearby lift station.
“So we were advised not to use water, not to flush, not to take showers, all of that kind of thing,” Atkins said.
Now, everyone within Orlando city limits has been asked to severely limit water usage while repairs are being made.
“Well it’s not great,” Atkins said. “It’s easy to just go over to the sink and turn it on without thinking because it’s kind of a habit we all have, so I had to put a couple of notices for myself at the places where I usually do that.”
The goal is to ease pressure on an already overworked system.
University of Florida Assistant Professor of Urban Water Resources Engineering, Eban Bean, says Hurricane Ian’s impacts are a first time test for a city like Orlando.
“This is something on the order of a 200, 500-year sort of rainfall event,” Bean said. “We typically design our infrastructure up to maybe the 100-year event.”
That means the conversation could shift from conservation to costly upgrades in the coming weeks and months.
“The wastewater infrastructure is as old as Orlando itself,” Bean said. “And this is a widespread problem anywhere that we have these types of storms, that we need to fund that infrastructure to keep it up to date, to keep it resilient to these types of events.”
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