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Sewer Work Progresses, Covell Lake Now Open

August 9, 2010, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Sewer Work Progresses, Covell Lake Now Open
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Homeowners in Sioux Falls are still doing some clean up following last week's sewer system emergency.

The system now appears to be back to 100 percent, as far as residents can tell. But work to keep sewage out of homes is still in high gear.

The Public Works Department of Sioux Falls now says the worst of the situation is behind us. But they still have a long "to do" list before the whole problem is remedied.

The sound of a jackhammer might not be the sound that comes to mind when you think of sewer system work. But Monday, that sound is a big step in the area of Main Avenue and Walnut Street where the temporary pumps are helping get sewage to the treatment plant.

"Right when we first knew we had the issue, we mobilized the pumping company and we immediately set pumps. Now, there's just some fine tuning that we're doing to make them operate better," Mark Cotter of Sioux Falls Public Works said.

Work is also going on where all the problems started, but it's taking some time because the buried pipe is buried deep inside a hill.

Public Works Director Mark Cotter says getting to the pipe is important because that's how city leaders will know what's next. They hope to be able to clean the pipe and get a camera inside it. Then they'll know how bad it is and may be able to pinpoint a cause and solution.

"That's the key activity that's happening on the piping system so we ultimately can make a final recommendation what the permanent fix will be," Cotter said.

Cotter expects crews will reach that point in the next couple of days. Until then, they're thankful the city avoided what could have been a major disaster.

"We've got people who've worked for the department for 33 and 35 years that have never seen anything to this scale and so this is new territory," Cotter said.

Cotter says this is also a reminder for why the system is upgraded.

Tests show bacteria levels at Covell Lake in Sioux Falls have returned to safe levels, so the lake is once again open. However, the Big Sioux River remains closed.

And finally, the city is still asking you to conserve water and not water your lawn.

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