In 2012, Long Branch, N.J., was one of many coastal communities that experienced severe flooding during Hurricane Sandy. As water levels rose in Long Branch during the hurricane, the drainage system became susceptible to flow reversals.
“One of the issues [Long Branch officials] found was that the drainage system ended up being a path for flood waters to re-enter the town,” said Dave Gillespie, operations manager at Valve Tech Sales.
To prepare for future severe weather events, the city decided to update its current drainage system to better protect the coastline. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided funds to upgrade Long Branch’s storm drainage system.
Long Branch decided to retrofit its current drainage system, which would allow the city to achieve its objectives without needing to modify much of its current infrastructure. However, working with existing structures created a challenge when designing the valves, as each site required a custom installation.
FEMA approved the use of check valves for the project. The check valves were designed so that the pipe size could be matched to the valve and the amount of head pressure associated with the valve. Valves ranged in size from 12 in. in diameter to 48 in. in diameter, and were installed in or on concrete and PVC pipe.
The final design was implemented in 2017 and completed in early 2018, despite challenges with installing the valves in these large pipes. In some cases, pieces of deteriorated concrete pipe needed to be cut out before the valve could be installed. As a result, Long Branch now is less susceptible to flow reversals during future severe weather events.
“The town is much better protected for future, large-scale tidal inflows or storm surges,” Gillespie said. “Under storm conditions, [the valves] will protect the town.”