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Lift Station Repairs

July 30, 2010, 5:55 PM by Perry Groten

Lift Station Repairs
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Dozens of Sioux Falls families woke up to raw sewage in their basements Friday morning. Flooding overwhelmed a lift station near Tuthill Park causing it to fail.

The lift station failure backed up sewage in more than 50 homes in the Tuthill Park area.  Right now, two of the four pumps at the lift station are back online. But there's still plenty more work to be done.

The lift station failed around four o'clock Friday morning, when flooding overwhelmed the station's ability to process wastewater.

"The Tuthill lift station is a significant lift station. It's one of the earliest in the city; it has the capacity to pump 15,000 gallons a minute," Water Reclamation Superintendent Trent Lubbers said.

Lift stations use gravity to push wastewater to the city treatment plant. But the force of gravity ran up against the power of floodwaters, fouling up the system and leading to a day of repairs for city crews.

"You have to imagine an electrical and pumping system that's been submerged in water. You have to carefully go through and restore that. You can't just flip and turn it back on," Lubbers said.

To take some of the pressure off the lift station while it's down for repairs, the city has been discharging untreated water into the Big Sioux River. But the city says the discharges will not have a serious impact on the river.

"There's certainly some impact, but the impact on the river when you do a wastewater discharge when there's high flows is less than there would be. It's carrying a lot of flow and a lot of bacteria already," Lubbers said.

The public works department says the untreated wastewater will have no impact on the city's drinking water supply. And the city is reminding everyone that it is illegal to pump water from your basement into the city sewer system.

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