Madison Street has an underpass that is a relatively well-known landmark in Muncie. The artwork on it may not be the reason. It has been notorious for dramatic flooding after rainstorms. The fire department regularly pulls stalled vehicles out of the high waters there. Emergency services have had to divert their routes on calls to avoid the flooding. Now, that issue may have been solved.
A multi-million dollar project put on by the Muncie Sanitary District and Bowen Engineering included a two tier pumping system designed to prevent major flooding. It would pump out any flood waters out to the White River. In major rain storms, the system would pump excess flood waters into a 730,000 gallon storage tank, that can be seen just off of Madison Street.
"I was elated," said Eddie Bell, the Muncie fire chief, in regards to how he felt when he heard about the project. "I think everything looks good right now, and I hope it works as well as it looks."
Labor Day provided the first true test of the system. After less than two inches of rain fell in Muncie in all of August, about an inch fell in the late hours of Labor Day. A manhole cover opened up just off the road near Madison Street, causing water to flood right into the roadway. The system kicked in and within minutes of the rainfall stopping, the water had dissipated.
"This has been a very long known issue for the city of Muncie. Through the contracts format between Bowen Engineering and the Muncie Sanitary District, we got creative in solutions to solve this long running problem for the City of Muncie," said Paul Creasey, project manager for Bowen Engineering.
The rest of the multi-million dollar project included using ultraviolet technology to clean the water that goes into the White River instead of chemicals, which is a more efficient and safer way to clean the water. The chemicals do not have to be renewed. With the chemicals being flammable, the risk of a chemical explosion is also greatly decreased.