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17 Inches Of Rain Estimated In Estelline

July 8, 2010, 4:55 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

17 Inches Of Rain Estimated In Estelline
ESTELLINE, SD - The water won't go down in northeastern South Dakota. The snow melt this spring and heavy rains this summer are continuing to flood basements and threaten homes.
 
Estelline is another community working to battle the water that's coming up from below. 

"As long as it keeps raining, we're going to have a groundwater problem," Estelline Mayor Dan DeWitt said.

At least two dozen homes in town are pumping out water right now. Mary Saathoff's basement sump pump has been running nonstop since the snow melted. It's not running to pump all the water out, just to keep the water from rising. 

"The pumps keep pumping and we stay about three feet because it can't keep up," Saathoff said.

Saathoff says she almost had all the water out earlier this summer, and then came the recent rain.

"It's more annoying than anything because it's just kind of disheartening. You work on your yards and you work and try to keep everything nice and the water just keeps coming and coming. Don't need this much water," Saathoff said.

The city is also trying to keep up. Estelline's mayor says they've been working to keep water pumped out of the sewer so it doesn't back up into basements, but the ground is so saturated it's been a tough fight.

"One fellow yesterday told me he was keeping track and he said we'd had 17 inches over the last 35 days, which computes to about a half inch a day. So that's a lot of water," DeWitt said.

A lot of water that's going to keep pumps in Estelline working because it's the only way to fight the problem.

"Can't sandbag underground," DeWitt said.

DeWitt says they are doing about everything they can to keep the water out of the sewer and out of homes.  The only thing that would help the situation is several days of dry sunny weather.

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