165,000 gallons of wastewater flows into Wisconsin River

Part of Wisconsin Rapids received 5 inches of rain in a short period of time Friday causing the mishap
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - 165,000 gallons of diluted wastewater are now in the Wisconsin River. The superintendent of the Wisconsin Rapids Wastewater Treatment Plant says about 5 inches of rain that fell on the city’s west side in a matter of hours on Friday morning is to blame.

“It overtook our system with over twice as many gallons as we normally get on a typical day,” said Derek Budsberg, Wastewater Superintendent.

Budsberg said the system typically handles 3 million gallons, but it saw more than 6 million on Friday.

“Basically that water can’t flow through our collection system fast enough,” said Budsberg.

Budsberg said it kept backing up the system farther and farther until it hit the emergency overflow gates. The overflow gates are meant to protect your basements from backing up, but the river gets the brunt of it. Which also adds to your chance of exposure to E.coli and other pathogens.

“Swimming and all of those recreational activities are fine. That water that went to the river is very diluted, especially mixing in with the river water itself there’s really nothing to worry about,” said Budsberg.

To make sure something like that doesn’t happen again, the city has devised a plan to maintain the current infrastructure through televising, cleaning, lining, and grouting sewer mains. You can help too.

“We’ll have wet basements around this area we have a high ground water table there are houses that have sump pumps that are constantly discharging that water an easy route in the past would be to just hook that up to the sanitary system,” said Budsberg.

But Budsgerg said that’s a violation of the city ordinance. Instead, it should be connected to the stormwater collection system. Budsberg said having a plumber make sure yours is connected properly is a way to help them avoid future back-ups.

The city says the 165,000 gallons of diluted wastewater mixed with so much river water that the water should now be safe to boat or swim in

Copyright 2022 WSAW. All rights reserved.