Archive for Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kansas River above flood stage after storms; Topeka pump station dumps untreated wastewater

The Kansas River level is up after Tuesday and Wednesday rain storms. This view Wednesday afternoon, April 27, 2016, looks north across the river from near City Hall.

The Kansas River level is up after Tuesday and Wednesday rain storms. This view Wednesday afternoon, April 27, 2016, looks north across the river from near City Hall.

April 27, 2016, 5:19 p.m. Updated April 28, 2016, 8:04 a.m.


More than 2 inches of rain fell on the Lawrence area Tuesday night, causing flooding of the Kansas River at Lawrence and leading to a wastewater dump out of Topeka.

Lawrence saw about 2.19 inches of rain between approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday and 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to measurements from the Lawrence Municipal Airport. As of Thursday morning, the Kansas River at Lawrence was still above flood stage.

The heavy rainfall plus a mechanical failure caused the South Kansas River pump station in Topeka to dump 2.4 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the Kansas River on Tuesday, the city of Topeka said in a release.

Lawrence, downstream from Topeka, was notified Wednesday afternoon.

Jeanette Klamm, a management analyst with the Lawrence utilities department, said the 2.4 million gallons “is not even going to be a blip” because of the high river levels Wednesday.

Last year, in an agreement with state environmental regulators, Topeka agreed to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 after a power failure caused another 3 million gallons of sewage to be dumped into the Kansas River.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning Wednesday afternoon for the Kansas River at Lawrence and Lecompton.

The warning, which was extended Thursday morning, stated the river at Lawrence was at 18.5 feet, just above the flood stage of 18 feet. The river is expected to rise to 18.8 feet before falling below flood stage Thursday evening. The flood warning will continue until Friday morning.

According to the warning statement, Lawrence's Burcham Park on the south side of the river is closed because of flooding. Lowlands near the levee on the north side of the river are also flooded.

“When we have as much water going by now with the river as high as it is, even if we were sampling minute-by-minute, chances are we wouldn’t even see their 2 million gallons,” Klamm said. “We have millions of gallons coming by us every minute.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was also notified of the sewage release and determined a public advisory was not needed, the news release states.

Chances of precipitation will continue the rest of the week.

According to the weather service, Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny. Friday’s forecast includes a 30 percent chance of showers, which increases to a 70 percent chance in the evening.

None by Mike Yoder

None by Mike Yoder

Journal-World reporter Nikki Wentling contributed to this story.


Mike Riner 2 years, 1 month ago

Again? Doesn't Topeka know how to operate their treatment plants?

Stuart Evans 2 years, 1 month ago

Darin, a couple points about your argument.. using the word "retards" to describe anyone, isn't going to help your case. Also, there's an incredible new invention, called punctuation; it makes your diatribe readable.

Rick Masters 2 years, 1 month ago

"lawercians are retards ignorant"

Waiter? Check, please.

Maggie Morrissey 2 years, 1 month ago

Your anger to the point of childish name calling that is very offensive shows your lack of education. Perhaps growing up will help you?

Jeff Rice 2 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

April Baker 2 years, 1 month ago

Time to buy a reverse osmosis house filter just in case... I mean, i get it, that's pretty "liberal" of me and all, but I just don't want to have to think about it anymore. Our country, state, counties and cities are in need of some serious infrastructure investment.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 1 month ago

Does Topeka have to pay the $10,000 fine? If not, why not?

Bob Summers 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad this is the government. Otherwise citizens could sue for damages.

Has Gina been alerted yet? She is an expert on polluting rivers.

Michael Bennett 2 years, 1 month ago

I've always said Topeka was the a**hole of Kansas. Never realized just how accurate that was...

Michael Kort 2 years, 1 month ago

The Kansas River at Lawrence was running at about 26,000,000 gal per minute or maybe 1.5 billion gal per hour late this morning .

This river water flow is churning, as it moves,..... and contains animal waist runoff from farms, wooded areas, fish, etc. .

Water treatment operators have to adjust to high or low water flows on a regular basis in order to treat water to safe drinking standards that will contain varying problem things that must me removed

This is not the first time they have ever done that nor will it be their last and society expects perfection as a general rule to certain standards .

Revers osmosis filters ( run properly ) are probably your safest way to after treat your water at home if you so choose to .

If you are obsessively safe with what you drink, get a steri pen which is a device that looks like a pen that is submerged into your drinking glass and produces ultra violet light that kills the germs or viruses that somehow (?) might be in there because you glass is dirty or you have an unknown home plumbing source of contamination of your water with bacteria or viruses that UV light can kill with a proper length of exposure to amount of water .

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