Omaha Public Radio News
3:48 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

Missouri River Unified Command provides update on gushing pipe at wastewater treatment plant

Omaha, NE – Omaha Public Works officials say they now have a gushing pipe at a Wastewater treatment plant nearly under control.

At today's (Tuesday's) Missouri River Unified Command Meeting, Environmental Services Manager Marty Grate updated the status of yesterday's (Monday's) Papillion Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant incident. A bolted down manhole cover came loose on the outlet channel at the plant Monday. Grate says the situation was generally stabilized by 4:30 Monday afternoon with some help from the National Guard, "Trying to ring that structure with large sandbags that were deployed from helicopters. That wasn't totally successful. At the same time though, we were constructing an access road to get down to that area with heavy equipment. And yesterday afternoon, we were able to essentially create a gasket out of sandbags and actually use the bucket of an excavator to come in and just set the bucket on top of the whole area and we affected about 90% reduction in that overflow."

Grate says efforts will be made to augment the sandbags and make that seal tighter. He says the flow is now down to a level that Environmental Services can keep up with through the use of pumps. Grate says that should help avoid any kind of infringement on the levee there.

The Missouri River is at 35 feet at Omaha, six feet above flood stage.

Flooding updates are available online at omahaflood.org.