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Local leaders across Tennessee to meet for flooding roundtable

The University of Tennessee MTAS and Flood Ready Tennessee will host a roundtable so cities can deal with flooding regionally.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Flood Ready Tennessee and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) will host a flooding roundtable this Friday for county leaders, city officials, EMA directors, elected officials and others.

Their goal is to discuss the damage caused by flooding and help regions prepare for floods so all are on the same page.

"Water that impacts one community will impact another community downstream," said Susan Robertson, a communications expert with the UT Institute of Public Policy. 

Across Tennessee this year, parts of East Tennessee from Chattanooga, extending upwards towards Eastern Kentucky, have been affected by floods — including deadly flooding in Kentucky. 

In Knox County, Jim Snowden, the Senior Director of Knox County's Engineering and Public Works division, said his crews have responded to flooding issues almost every day. 

He said they get calls for downed trees, pipe failures and utility issues. Crews have been working 50-60 hours of overtime some weeks, he said.

"We've had our hands full with a lot of damage," said Snowden. "We've had guys out for a couple of weeks, almost every night." 

Snowden said the county has seen a couple of pipes fail because of their age, too. 

"A really hard storm gets in that weaker pipe and it collapses," said Snowden. "We've had a couple of those."

"We need to examine the issues that can cause the flooding, such as storm drains, older infrastructure, etc., and work on a regional level to address those," said Robertson. 

Flood Ready Tennessee will host the roundtable at UT's MTAS building on Friday at 3 p.m. and it will be closed to the public.

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