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Noem surveys impact of flooding in Vermillion area

todayJuly 2, 2024 5

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CLAY COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Floodwaters have hit various communities in the upper Midwest hard in recent days, and the ensuing cleanup and recovery presses on. For the Vermillion, S.D. area, that means sewage going into the Vermillion River, which has bulged well beyond its typical banks. Nevertheless, there is good news.

“We’re very thankful that the river is dropping,” said Gov. Kristi Noem, who visited the area Tuesday. “That is helping us identify where the break in some of the pipes are and how they can be repaired and repaired as soon as possible.”

The damage is clear just south of the University of South Dakota, from a dilapidated pier to a huge fallen tree. Still, Noem says it could have been worse.

“The Vermillion River did not crest as high as we had originally predicted,” Noem said. “That meant that a lot of the water did not back up into people’s individual homes. What we’ve got here is significant public infrastructure damage.”

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Flooding compromised three pipes running beneath the Vermillion River; a gurgling flow displayed sewage flowing into the river on Tuesday.

“The crews are out there working,” said Shane Griese, utilities manager with the City of Vermillion. “We’re hopeful that this is a, maybe a repair versus a full-on new lane of new pipe to get to the treatment facility. If that is the case, we’re hoping that this can be really, at least flowing back to the plant on a temporary basis sooner than later.”

Griese says that could happen in a matter of days.

“That’s what we’re hopeful for,” he said. “If we can find the pipe and the damage that we’re kind of hoping to find, I think we can get that repaired in a day or two and get this thing flowing back to the plant on a temporary basis.”

Per Vermillion Mayor Jon Cole, the city is putting about 1.2 million gallons of sewage into the Vermillion River per day.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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