Water Treatment Facility Faces Woes As Missouri River Levels Rise

The Missouri River is threatening the Omaha wastewater treatment plant in South Omaha.

John Winkler with the Papio-Missouri River NRD tells NewsRadio 1110 KFAB that the fast rising waters have breached the levee system along the river. "We've got some water coming over that levee system. I don't know if it's coming over at the treatment plant or the levee system to the south. So we're gonna have to assess it when we get everybody on site and then try to react accordingly. The Missouri River is the big issue for us right now, and it's just continuing to rise."

Winkler says the rising waters from rain and snow melt is being exacerbated by waters being released from the north. "I know the Corps (of Engineers) continuing to revise their output from Gavin's Point Dam. I believe it's up to 80 or 90 thousand CFS from yesterday. I don't know, quite frankly, if our levee system in that area is going to be able to withstand that type of release. Not only from the Corps, but just from all the water overall."

The silver lining in all of this is that the Omaha metro's drinking water supply won't be affected, but Winkler says there will still be ramifications if the treatment plant is breached. "What would happen, I believe, is if it's compromised then they'd basically have to free-flow raw, untreated sewage into the river."

Winkler says they will be monitoring the levee systems over the next few days as they hope to start seeing some relief from the flooding soon.

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