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Wastewater is dumped into the Missouri

Wastewater is dumped into the Missouri

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Flooding has caused sewage plants in Sioux City and now Omaha to dump untreated sewage into the Missouri River. The city of Omaha is advising people to stay away from the water.

  • Jim Theiler of Omaha Public Works tells us the city feels in good shape to protect people, property and the environment.
  • Neighbors agree it’s best to stay out of the water at this time.
  • The city says people can have safe access back to the river hopefully by July 2.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Stay away from water. At the Missouri River Wastewater Plant, where a million gallons of wastewater are dumped into the river due to flooding.

Often, untreated sewage is dumped into the river, but flooding has forced treatment plants like those in Sioux City and Omaha to do so.

Jim Theiler of Omaha Public Works tells us the city is doing everything it can to prevent this.

In this situation in Omaha, they’ve lost access to the Monroe Street lift station, and the treatment plant doesn’t have the ability to set up temporary flood measures there like they can here.

The city advises people to avoid swimming, seeing or even touching the water during this time, and neighbors I spoke with agree.

“If you have cuts, open wounds or if it gets in your eyes and mouth and stuff, it’s just not a good thing and you could end up being sick,” Keryl Brady said.

“I just hope it doesn’t end up in our pipes where it goes down the sink and into the drinking water,” Jordin Fisher said.

With sewage, there is a potential for exposure to bacteria in the river, which is why Public Works takes samples during this time to analyze the amount of E. coli bacteria.

“A lot of people swim in the river all the time, but you know with all this water. I’m not sure you know it would be safe,” Jennifer Finney said.

Safety is a priority for everyone on both sides of the river.

“Because if this fence wasn’t here, people would be right next to the water,” Sean Phillips said.

Theiler says the good news is that the ridge level is low, they feel they are in good shape to protect people, property and the environment.

The city says people can have safe access back to the river hopefully by July 2, but that will depend on rain that could affect water flow.