As the American Midwest works to recover from catastrophic flooding that has plagued the area since mid-March, some communities are just setting out on the long road to recovery. In one example of just how disruptive the disaster has been, critical water and wastewater treatment operations that residents in Nebraska depend on will take months to get back online.
“Plattsmouth residents will have to conserve water for at least six more months, until the city can get its flooded water treatment plant back online,” the Omaha World-Herald reported. “The city’s water treatment facility was shut down on March 14 due to flooding.”
Serving as a stark illustration of the flooding, city staff could not even reach the plant nearly a month after it was inundated with water, let alone begin the necessary repairs.
“An engineering firm’s survey of the water treatment plant found that much of the electrical system will need to be replaced or repaired,” per the World-Herald.
Plattsmouth is currently importing drinking water from nearby Cass County, but it’s only supplying two-thirds of the required drinking water. Without their own plant online, local residents are prohibited from watering lawns, washings their cars at home, or filling their pools. But city officials are hopeful that they can beat the six-month deadline for restoring their own drinking water treatment plant.
“While Cass County Rural Water District 1 is still pumping over a million gallons of clean water, [City Administrator Irv Portis] said families are cutting back,” KETV reported. “Portis said hopefully, with the help of engineers and contractors, the city can get its own clean water to the community within three months.”
Meanwhile, the city’s wastewater treatment plant may be in even worse shape — resulting in massive untreated sewage spills into nearby source bodies.
“It could take more than six months to get the city’s wastewater treatment plant back in operation, meaning that raw sewage will continue to be dumped into the Missouri River for the foreseeable future,” the World-Herald reported. “Portis said Plattsmouth’s wastewater plant discharges ‘about a million gallons a day’ into the Missouri.”
While he seemed confident the city would get drinking water services back ahead of schedule, Portis told the World-Herald that the six-month deadline for the wastewater treatment plant may be overly optimistic.