A temporary fix to Plattsmouth’s flood-damaged water treatment plant is in the works, but residents must continue to limit their water usage, city officials said Tuesday.

Water use has spiked in the last few days, “exceeding supply by a significant amount,” city administrator Erv Portis said on the City of Plattsmouth’s website. “The amount available in above ground storage has decreased dramatically in the last several days.”

If that level of usage continues, Portis warned that water pressure could drop and the city could run out of water to fight fires.

He reminded residents that the city’s water treatment plant is still not up and running and that a water conservation order remains in effect.

The city’s water plant has been offline for nearly six months, after being wrecked by 11 feet of water during record-breaking flooding in March. A wastewater treatment facility got hit, too. Cost of repairs for both could exceed $10 million.

Sign up for The World-Herald's afternoon updates

Receive a summary of the day’s popular and trending stories from Omaha.com.

Months later, the water plant remains surrounded by water and repair crews are working nights and weekends to get it running again.

“It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever seen, trying to repair a plant that’s been shut down for six months,” Portis said. “The valves don’t work, the valves don’t open, the valves need to be rebuilt, the compressor doesn’t work.”

Cautiously optimistic, city officials initially said the plant might be repaired by Sept. 1. But Portis said that’s not set in stone, and he said the State Department of Health and Human Services will have to ensure that drinking water treated at the plant is safe.

He speculated that residents, tired of months of water restrictions, may have jumped the gun and indulged in a few too many long, hot showers or lawn-watering sessions, resulting in the recent jump in the amount of water used.

Plattsmouth has hooked up with Cass County Rural Water District No. 1 to get most of its drinking water, and the city has two water towers that can hold a combined 1.5 million gallons.

“We’re drawing down on those towers fast,” Portis said.

Under the water emergency order issued March 20 and still in place, the city is asking residents to voluntarily decrease their water use by 30%. Restaurants are asked to serve water only upon request and to use single-serving plates and glasses to cut down on dishwashing.

Watering lawns, filling swimming pools and washing cars remain prohibited. Businesses stepped up earlier this summer to fill the pool at Twin Rivers Water Park.

Floods devastate Nebraska, Iowa in March 2019

  • 0

After drenching rains Tuesday and heavy snow on Wednesday, Gibbon’s low spots became apparent, first as water filled streets to the curb, and later on Thursday and Friday as the water spilled into lawns and driveways before lapping at foundations. “I’ve never seen so much water, or the force and damage it can do in a short time,” firefighter Jamey Rome said.

  • 2

Thirty buildings, including the 55th Wing headquarters and the two major aircraft maintenance facilities, had been flooded with up to 8 feet of water, and 30 more structures damaged. About 3,000 feet of the base’s 11,700-foot runway was submerged. No one, though, had been injured.

  • 0

An official with the state office of the Farm Services Agency said Monday that because of earlier livestock losses from below-zero temperatures and wet animals, the agency has asked the federal government to add another 30 days to the period in which livestock deaths can be covered by federal aid.

Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.