The Missouri River may be slowly on its way down, but the pressure of all that water was too much Friday for an old pipe at Omaha’s wastewater treatment plant.
About 100 gallons a minute was gushing out of the abandoned pipe at the plant near 13th Street and Missouri Avenue, said Gordon Andersen, quality control manager for the Omaha Public Works Department.
Water pumps and more than 10,000 sandbags were brought in to control the leaking water, which pooled on the dry side of a recently constructed levee, said Aida Amoura, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Suttle.
The new segment is an extension of the existing levee and was built to protect newer portions of the sewage treatment plant, Andersen said.
No buildings or treatment operations were expected to be affected by the leak, he said.
Andersen said a dive team based in Rapid City, S.D., was called in to locate the 15-inch pipe.
The plan is to plug the pipe, which Amoura described as a storm sewer. But if that fails, pumps can keep up with the amount of water being discharged, Anderson said.
City crews worked through the heat and insects to ring the flooded area with pumps and sandbags. Andersen said the area is about 2,000 square feet.
He said pressure from floodwaters is causing similar pipe-spewing issues up and down the river.
Workers at the plant completed a nearly half-mile-long earthen levee in early June, extending the height of the existing levee by 10 to 12 feet.
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