Local lakes full from rain
Recent showers and thunderstorms have dumped more than nine inches of rain on Holton in May, filling Prairie Lake, Elkhorn Lake and Banner Creek Reservoir — but not yet to an extent where flooding is a major concern, according to Holton Water and Wastewater Superintendent Dennis Ashcraft.
As of Tuesday, Ashcraft said Prairie Lake was “full and running over the spillway,” while Banner Creek Reservoir is at 12 inches above normal pool level. Elkhorn Lake appeared that day to be at normal levels.
And by the end of the day Monday, Ashcraft had calculated that the city had received a total of 9.46 inches of rain since the beginning of the month.
“That’s a lot of rain,” he said. “It’s definitely abnormal.”
Despite the high amount of rain, Ashcraft said there haven’t been any concerns of flooding raised in the Holton area.
“We haven’t seen a lot of issues from the rain — maybe a little bit of an increase on the turbidity of the raw water coming into the plant,” he said. “We haven’t had any trouble treating it.”
However, he noted that the excess rain has the city’s wastewater plant treating an excessive amount of water, a sizable amount of wastewater possibly coming in via residential sump pumps — which, according to Holton city codes, is not permitted.
“We’re putting a million and a half gallons a day through the wastewater plant right now, but we’re only selling about 300,000 gallons of water a day,” Ashcraft said. “If anyone’s got their sump pump going to the sewer, they need to reroute it.”
Some of the extra water currently being handled by the wastewater plant comes from storm water that has seeped into old sewer lines.
“The storm drains are not tied into the sanitary sewer system, but we get infiltration problems on the old sewer lines,” he said. “With continued wet weather like this, that slowly increases. Normally, when we get a wet spell, we don’t usually see a big impact from it.”
A sewer line cleaning crew from Mayer Specialty Services of Goddard have been in Holton cleaning some of the city’s sewer lines, it has been reported. Ashcraft said the storms have only affected the Mayer crew’s progress “when it’s pouring down rain.”