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Flooding near Plattsmouth, 3.16

Train cars and truck storage cars sit submerged under floodwaters near Plattsmouth in mid-March.

PLATTSMOUTH -- Crews repairing the city’s water treatment plant damaged from this spring’s flood have encountered more problems.

Floodwater cut through a portion of the Platte River bank north of Plattsmouth, creating a new channel through the Schilling Wildlife Management Area and surrounding the plant, according to City Administrator Erv Portis.

The cut was discovered last week during helicopter flights over flood-damaged areas.

The cut in the bank is 150 feet wide and 10 to 15 feet deep, Portis said.

“It’s a big deal problem,” he said.

Mayor Paul Lambert added, “It will be that deep forever unless something is done.”

Between 3 and 5 feet of water still surrounds the plant and its nearby wells, Lambert said.

“All of this complicates our access to the plant,” Portis told Council members at Monday's meeting.

City officials are seeking solutions with other stakeholders, including identifying the best way to make repairs, the cost and who is responsible, Portis said.

Among the stakeholders are FEMA, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the state’s Game and Parks Commission, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and private landowners, Lambert said.

The city has held individual meetings with some of the stakeholders.

“There’s clear agreement that this is a problem that needs to be fixed," Portis said.

City officials are still aiming to have the plant operational by fall.

Meanwhile, there seems to be progress in getting the city’s wastewater plant running again.

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Portis said electricity has been temporarily restored and equipment repaired, allowing for raw sewage to flow through the plant with limited treatment before being released into the Missouri River.

For about two months, the city had no choice but to release the sewage into the river without any treatment.

Major components still need repair, including electrical, mechanical and pumping equipment.

Again, Lambert expressed hope that the wastewater plant can be fully functional by fall.

After the water plant shut down, the city was able to reach an agreement with Cass County Rural Water District No. 1 to draw some of its supply, but also asked the community to conserve usage.

“People are doing a great job,” Portis said.

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