flooding causes sewage overflow

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 14:48 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The heavy rain and fast melting snow on frozen ground caused a rare overflow Tuesday at the city of LaPorte's waste water treatment plant.

It was just the fourth time in 10-years untreated waste water got discharged into Travis Ditch because of the system's inability to handle the influx, said Jerry Jackson, the city's waste water department superintendent.

Normally, incoming water exceeding the plant's capacity to treat it is diverted into a 30 million gallon storage lagoon.

It's held and later pumped into the plant for treatment as flows dissipate, Jackson said.

The 2.5 inches of rain during over a 24 hour period coupled with a lot of melting snow completely filled up the lagoon, forcing heavy volumes of waste water still coming in to by-pass the plant.

''We could not hold all of the rain because there's so much of it,'' Jackson said.

He also reported flooding in some basements and crawlspaces.

LaPorte County enacted its annual frost law Tuesday morning to keep heavy trucks off roads softening from the frozen ground beneath them melting, said LaPorte County Highway Department Superintendent Bob Young.

Young said heavy trucks will not be allowed to haul until at least tomorrow to limit damage to the roads.

Some roads had partially washed away.

''We're out trying to deal with all of these issues right now,'' Young said.

By noon, eight county roads in LaPorte County were closed, including 125 East where the Galena River was flowing over a bridge deck near Heston.

LaPorte County sheriff John Boyd advised drivers not to proceed through standing water especially if it's flowing to avoid the chance of being swept away.

The rising Kankakee River also stopped the city from draining its lakes.

A gravity drain opens to keep Pine, Stone and other lakes in LaPorte from flooding when levels begin creeping up.

Lake water from the several mile long drain is deposited into Travis Ditch which carries it to the Kankakee River.

Jackson said shutting off the drain when the river gets high was part of an agreement to acquire state funding to help pay for the construction of the drain in the late 90's.