Sedalia Mayor Andrew Dawson and Fourth Ward Councilman Rhiannon Foster toured the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant on Friday after torrential rains fell on Sedalia early Wednesday morning.

Collection System Foreman Dave Gerken talked about the extreme rain event with KSIS.

“It created a lot of flooding, a lot of the water infiltrated the sanitary sewer lines and created problems not only in the collection lines but also at our wastewater plants,” Gerken said.

Gerken said he got out of bed and drove to the plant where he works at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when the flooding was under way.

“The whole system was just filled, and water finds the least resistance, so it's got to go somewhere,” he noted. “We had to rent diesel-powered trash pumps. They were in place of the actual in-line electric pumps that had problems.”

The rented equipment will remain in use for a couple more weeks, Gerken noted. The new in-line pumps have arrived, and are being installed.

“It's a work in progress,” Gerken said, adding that citizens be patient. “We're working on it. We are addressing it.”

Sedalia Mayor Dawson commented after the tour that it was very interesting to see all the systems working together. “The wastewater operators are petty much driving this thing, adjusting the levels and keeping everything in check, with regards to the flow. And the guys like Dave who come out here at 1:30 a.m., they don't get enough credit for what they're doing in order to keep things operating,” Dawson said.

“Talk about an emergency, if you go to flush your toilet and you can't, that's going to be an emergency. And these guys are out here on the front line, making sure that's happening, and that's vitally important. More people need to recognize the work they do,” the mayor told KSIS.

“You don't realize the entire operation behind wastewater and what goes into you flushing your toilet,” Dawson stated. You just don't understand it.”

“I think it's great too, that we're going ahead and replacing equipment out here, we're replacing pumps, we're replacing those check valves, upgrading the plants, and building back that infrastructure. That's the only way we're going to be able to move forward, without any other drastic changes,” Mayor Dawson said.

Councilwoman Foster said she was amazed after taking the grand tour of the wastewater plant at 3000 West Main.

“We really do not realize what goes into having water. My mind is blown. I knew it was a big process. And you can read about it all day long, but until you actually see it, woah, I think these guys are phenomenal. I can't even imagine, when an alarm goes off in the middle of the night, and you have to run out and make sure to keep everybody's water safe and clean, and that's awesome,” Foster told KSIS.

“So now we have a whole new appreciation for what these guys do. They work really hard to take care of us,” she commented.

The City Councilwoman said she likes to stay ahead of things like the water treatment process. “Because if this shuts down, that's bad. We like to have clean water.”

Foster added that she wants to return and see one of the new pumps in action at the wastewater treatment plant.

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