PLATTSMOUTH – If you live in Plattsmouth and think you can start upping your water usage now that the Missouri River has gone down a few feet, you have another think coming.
Plattsmouth residents will need to continue conserving water for at least another six months, according to city officials – and that includes not watering lawns and not filling outdoor pools, including the one at Twin Rivers Water Park.
Mayor Paul Lambert: “Water conservation is something we have to do.”
Based on initial damage estimates of the city’s water treatment plant and wastewater treatment plant, it will take at least another 180 days to get these plants operational. Both plants were taken offline March14 when extreme circumstances caused the Missouri River to rise 24 feet within 24 hours.
Jim Olmstead of Olmstead ad Perry Consulting Engineers Inc. in Omaha: “The extent of damage is not completely known as of this time, but both plants are off line and are currently not capable of operating and functioning as required for proper treatment,” he said at the April 1 council meeting.
According to City Administrator Erv Portis, all five of the city’s wells and the berms that protect them have been compromised. The powerlines that loop through the well field were all knocked down by the flood water.
Portis: “Well house No. 4 was completely destroyed. At the wastewater treatment plant every system was inundated (with flood water).”
The damage at the wastewater plant is discouraging although Portis said the conditions at the water treatment plant left him more hopeful.
Portis: “The water was 10 to 11 feet above the (water treatment plant) facility. All the first floor was inundated with water. The back-up generator on the first floor was completely covered and is probably not working.)
The clarifier, which was renovated two years ago, “appears to be okay and the pumps appear to be okay,” Portis said.
Portis: “The goal is to get the drinking water plant operational within six months or less. It depends primarily on any damage to the electrical system. We have the same goal for the waste water treatment plant.”
Due to the complicated nature of the wastewater plant, Olmstead recommended the city hire Building Crafts Inc, of Red Oak Iowa, to perform damage assessments, cleanup and repairs necessary to bring the waste water plant online. Building Crafts was one of three construction contractors that submitted proposals to perform the recommended services.
Olmstead: “There are things at the wastewater plant that need to be replaced. We need to at last get the plant up and running so we don’t continue to discharge raw sewage into the Missouri River.”
Judd Brothers Construction Company of Lincoln and Eriksen Construction Company of Blair also submitted proposals.
Olmstead: “We have worked with all three contractors and each is well qualified and experienced in wastewater treatment plant work. Building Crafts performed well for the city on the recently completed work for upgrades to the treatment plant and knows the plant well.”
Building Crafts was chosen due to its knowledge of the plant, experience in working with the city and ability to start work immediately.
Olmstead: “Our firm will continue to provide engineering services for the ci ty and will oversee Building Crafts’ work during the process of bringing the plant back online. Jeff Frey, from our office will provide the oversight and will report daily to your Public Works Director Neil D. Froderman and City Administrator Erv Portis throughout the process….It’s possible we might want to do the same thing at the water treatment plant.”