As floodwater rises, sewer pipes putting in overtime

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  • Photo by Chanse Watson

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  • Photo by Chanse Watson

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The South Fork Coeur d’Alene River Sewer District (SFSD) has issued a warning to the residents of Shoshone County due to the high flood waters getting into the sewer system.

With all of the flooding in the area, the SFSD lift stations and sewer pipes are at their maximum capacity and water may have nowhere to go but up.

According to SFSD district manager Joe Close, the high volume of water is the worst he has seen it in the last decade.

“Oh this definitely the worst it’s been in the last 10 years,” Close said. “And it is really unfortunate that with all the upgrades that Kellogg and Wallace have done to their sewer systems recently that they are still allowing as much water in as they are. I’m sure it’s better than it was, but a lot is still getting in.”

At this time, extra pumps are being put in at the various wastewater lift stations in Page, Osburn, and Wallace.

Wastewater lift stations are facilities designed to move wastewater from lower to higher elevation, particularly where the elevation of the source is not sufficient for gravity flow and/or when the use of gravity conveyance will result in excessive excavation depths and high sewer construction costs.

The extra pumps will allow the water to move and treat a higher volume of wastewater than what is considered normal for the station.

“Our lift station in Page usually treats 1.5 to 2 million gallons of water per day in the summer,” Close said. “Today (Thursday at noon) we have already pumped 11 million gallons at that station.”

Close also wants people to know that they need to stay out of the water if they encounter it as well as other precautions.

“If you see flow coming out of manholes please contact our office or your local city sewer department,” Close said. “Please keep pets and children away from these manholes. If you have sump pumps in your basement please do not pump storm water into the sewer system.”

The City of Kellogg has also put out a public notice to its residents in hopes that they would be mindful of the current situation.

“Until we complete our Sewer & Roads project we are going to continue to have infiltration of storm water into our sewer system and times like this make the problem much worse. Rain is predicted again Friday afternoon through Saturday and then again later next week.” The city asks that in order to provide some relief, they are asking residents served by the South Fork Sewer District to limit bathing/showering, dish washing, laundry and toilet flushing to the absolute minimum for the next 7-10 days. This will help ensure that the treatment plant can handle the volume of intake and keep our sewer lines running freely for the sewage that needs to be treated.

For more information or to report an overflowing manhole, contact the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River Sewer District at (208) 753-8041.

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