It appears the worst of a sewage crisis is now behind Sioux Falls. A temporary bypass has taken the place of a collapsed pipe.
City leaders say they still want everyone to conserve water, just to make sure the temporary bypass is going to hold up. But now, sewage from the west side of town is no longer going directly into the Big Sioux River, instead it's flowing through temporary tubes and to the treatment plant.
Some big, black pipes may have saved hundreds, if not thousands of Sioux Falls homes. The temporary bypass lines transport sewage around the collapsed pipe that sparked the city emergency.
"It was a challenging thing, but it's ultimately going to make us all stronger. It will make this city stronger because of what we just went through," Mayor Mike Huether said.
Mayor Mike Huether originally expected the bypass work to take three to four days. Instead, crews got the line working in just more than 24 hours. With the bypass in place, the city can now inspect the collapse and figure out how they'll fix it. Until that happens, there's no timeline for how long this temporary solution will be in place.
"Right now, we're at a stage are we completely back to normal? No. But I tell you, we're really close," Mayor Huether said.
That means water conservation is still important. The mayor says temporary solutions aren't always as strong as the permanent fixtures they replace. He's also asking you to stay away from the temporary pipes.
"But the less people we have around there the better. It just takes one person to take their car and cause some damage and we just don't want anything to happen," Huether said.
Now, for the 180 total homes damaged from sewage backup in the last week, including 30 from the pipe collapse, Huether says the city is willing to help.
"The city will keep its promise. We will. We'll be there for you whether its picking up the stuff in front of your house and helping you through that claim process, we'll be there for you," Mayor Huether said.
As for the Big Sioux River and Covell Lake, there's no set time for when those will reopen. City crews plan to pump clean water through storm sewers that drain into Covell Lake in an effort to push the contaminated water out of the lake, and eventually into the river.