Three Rivers dealing with sewage overflow and floodwaters
Updated: Monday, April 22 2013, 07:15 PM EDT
THREE RIVERS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – As water levels continue to rise in Three Rivers, another problem has emerged, sewage overflow.
Water from the flooded St. Joseph River has caused thousands of gallons of sewage to leak near Broadway Street.
All the city can do now is wait for the flood waters to go down.
A manhole near the St. Joseph River in Three Rivers was no match for flood water that rose eight feet over the bank. Water rushed into the sewer system, forcing out sewage at a rate of 900 gallons an hour for more than 24 hours.
“Ultimately until the water level goes down and we’re able to restore that pipe to full capacity we’ll have some discharge,” said James Baker, Three Rivers water plant director.
On Monday the city did put a cement cap over the manhole cover, which has slowed down the overflow, but in the meantime sewage continues to flow downriver toward Constantine.
“There won’t be an all clear until the flood has stopped infiltrating that manhole,” said Rebecca Burns, St. Joseph County Health Department.
The Health Department has started tests on the water and ordered that no one go in the water or fish between Three Rivers and the Constantine dam.
Health Officials say people anywhere in West Michigan should stay away from floodwaters, because there’s no way to know what that water contains.
“Lots of reasons,” said Burns, “not just because of additional bacteria that might be in the water, but also because you can’t see what’s underneath there and you don’t know if it’s safe to enter.”
Because this has been an ongoing problem at that manhole, Three Rivers has already started on a project to put a new pump station in and raise the level of the manhole. The city says it should be finished for next spring’s