Wet weather causes high flows at Sioux Falls wastewater facility

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People in Sioux Falls should keep cutting down on their water usage through Friday night. 

That’s what the City of Sioux Falls is saying after more wet weather this week. 

This should give you a good perspective. 

Right now, about 50 million gallons of wastewater are moving through the system each day. 

That’s more than double the typical daily amount. 

The high flows are “very unusual” if you ask Sioux Falls Wastewater Superintendent Mark Perry. 

“For us in the wastewater industry it’s a real big deal. The flows will probably be the highest we’ll see in our careers,” Sioux Falls Wastewater Superintendent Mark Perry said. 

There are a number of ways the extra water can get into the system. 

“It can certainly be in cracks in pipes that are under the ground, it can be in cracks in manholes, there could be illegal sump pump dischargers that are taking it out of their sump pump and putting it down their floor drain which we absolutely cannot have,” Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter said. 

But the high flows are something the city has prepared for. 

Two equalization basins act like bathtubs that hold wastewater during peak flows. 

“Once the storm passes, once the plant catches up, we meter that flow back into, it gets treated, we clean up those basins and we get ready for the next time,” Cotter said. 

The city is currently building a third one for more storage in the future. 

As for right now, it will take about a week for the plant to see a significant drop in flows. 

“It will get better every day it doesn’t rain. We’ll see an improvement with the flows,” Perry said. 

There are several ways for you to limit your water usage. 

You could take a shorter shower or wait until the weekend to do laundry. 

You can find more tips here. 

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