UPDATE: South Bend's Wastewater Treatment Plant restarts, but under limited capacity

Photo courtesy Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune

Thursday update: Mayor Pete Buttigieg says the city was forced to shut down the wastewater treatment plant due to flooding. It has since restarted but has limited capacity. We are old your tap water is safe to drink, but some of what people flush down the toilet is going straight into the river.

City leaders say any flow that can't be processed will dump into the river.

They say any sewage would be diluted, just one drop for every 500 drops of river water.

But some homeowners are concerned about when that level.

"The river has always concerned me. I know there's been a very serious program to clean up the river but without having any data at my disposal I would say we still have some way to go with that issue,” said Gerry Gingras, flooded basement.

He says he's feeling fortunate, the water in his basement is clear and cold.

The following release was issued this morning by the city of South Bend:

There have been several flood developments overnight in the city.

The St. Joseph River reached 12.7’ at 1:30 a.m. before falling to 12.5’ earlier this morning. The river has not yet peaked upstream of the city, and we expect to be above the level for flood conditions for at least several more days.

The Waste Water Treatment Plant was shut down last night in order to preserve treatment processes. The plant has restarted and is operating at limited capacity. Residents can still use water normally, but any flow that cannot be processed at the treatment plant will be overflowed to the river. Flooding has not affected City drinking water, which is treated separately and remains safe to drink.

Several more roads around North Shore neighborhoods were closed overnight:

-Ostemo Pl. from Lafayette Blvd. to Iroquois St.

-Iroquois St. from North Shore Dr. to Parkovash Ave.

-Marquette Ave. from Angela Blvd. to North Shore Dr.

-the intersection of River Ave. and Edgewater

Michigan St. remains closed between North Shore Dr. and the Bartlett roundabout. A live map of road and park closures is available at Last night the Street Department ran two vactor trucks patrolling main streets, as well as four patching crews completing 311 work orders for pot holes.

Residents should continue to respect closures and road barriers. Do not drive on closed roads even if they are dry, as they will need to be inspected for safety after water recedes. Residents should also follow signs and barriers around parks and trails. Stretches of the East Bank Trail have begun to collapse; trying to access these spaces is dangerous. Under the emergency travel advisory, those disregarding closures and barriers will be ticketed.

Last night two individuals stayed overnight at the O’Brien emergency center after being displaced from their home.

Mayor Buttigieg and City officials will provide a briefing at noon today at the Century Center Island.

Previous report posted Wednesday: “We simply had to shut down part of our plant so we can keep it operating at a future date. Right now were processing about 20 million gallons a day our peak should be 77 so were operating at a much lower efficiency right now. If it gets much higher will have to completely shut down the plant," said Eric Horvath, South Bend Public Works director.

The flood waters also impacting the city's operations.

As early as Wednesday, South Bend's Wastewater Treatment Plant could be forced to shut down because of rising flood waters.

If its forced to shut down, all of the city's raw sewage will be dumped straight into the river.

City officials say issues at the wastewater plant have no impact on the city's drinking water.

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