Check valve

A worker sprays gunite around the newly installed check valve under Beaufain Street last week. Robert Behre/Staff

A 7-foot high tide at dusk Tuesday evening normally would have flooded several downtown Charleston intersections, but they stayed dry.

That's because the city recently installed new check valves in several drainage lines that serve some of the city's lowest-lying spots.

Frank Newham, a senior engineering project manager who oversaw the city's new installations, visited the intersections Tuesday night to inspect how well they worked.

He visited Barre and Wentworth streets, Wentworth and Gadsden streets, Water Street, the intersections around Cannon Park and Morrison Drive. All were dry.

"We were real pleased with what we saw last night," he said, adding the tide was even higher than expected — and the valves held.

The city's valves will continue to be tested by more king tides later this week. Such tides arrive when the new moon reaches perigee, the point where it's closest to Earth and creates its strongest pull.

King tides will peak at or a little above 7 feet through the weekend, pushing surf into dunes, swamping marshes — and forcing water back up downtown drainage pipes.

The tide was expected to peak Wednesday at the tail end of the evening drive-home rush hour, at 8 p.m., then later each day. 

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.