TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — On Tuesday afternoon, Topeka had a large amount of rain that caused higher than normal wastewater and stormwater flow volumes.
Emergency crews were on standby and went to the South Kansas River Pump station at 2400 NW Waterworks Drive after alarms went off due to the wet weather.
The rain and a mechanical failure caused a sanitary sewer overflow, which led to the release of 2.4 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the Kansas River.
Crews were monitoring the pump station’s equipment and flows through early Wednesday morning. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has been notified and said that there is no need for a public advisory. Water supply systems downstream have also been notified.
“Our communication systems function perfectly,” said Sylvia Davis, General Manager of Water Pollution Control. “Our crews responded, and had the pump back on line within 30 minutes.”
Topeka had a similar failure at the South Kansas River pump station a year ago. City staff made improvements to the pump station due to that failure, which included upgrading communications systems and putting several checks in place so proper notifications would happen.
“Once notified of the issue, our staff responded immediately to address the overflow,” said Sylvia Davis, Director of Topeka Water Pollution Control. “Staff’s response helped to minimize the overflow and kept a bad situation from getting worse.”
The City of Topeka will continue to sample and monitor the condition of the river and will send more notifications if necessary.
Deputy City Manager Doug Gerber can be contacted with questions at 785-368-3947.