Flood updates and the outlook for commuters
Updated Monday, Jan. 4 at 3:00 p.m. with information about sewer plants
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District says one of its flood-damaged water treatment plants should be fully functional by next week.
The Grand Glaize plant in Valley Park went offline Christmas Eve after the Meramec River breached a sandbag levee MSD built around the facility. The utility said Monday that the plant was pumping water again, and partial wastewater treatment would resume by the end of this week. The plant is expected to be back at full capacity next week.
The utility says it does not know when it will be able to return a second wastewater treatment plant in Fenton to service. That means six million gallons of untreated sewage will continue to flow into the Meramec. The facility was under six feet of water.
After historic floods closed around 90 state roads in the St. Louis metropolitan area last week, most major thoroughfares have reopened.
To find out how the floods could impact your commute, go to the appropriate web site. Missouri drivers should check www.modot.org, and Illinois drivers should go to www.idot.illinois.gov/home/Comm/emergency-road-closures.
Volunteer opportunities are being coordinated through STLVolunteer.org
Check the Army Corps of Engineers website for river levels.
But a few routes in and out of St. Louis remain blocked as people return to their weekday commute Monday after the holidays.
Commuters driving into St. Louis from the Alton area will have to take Route 3 down to I-270 and cross the New Chain of Rocks Bridge because US-67 southbound is closed at the Clark Bridge.
“Unfortunately when the levees breached in West Alton, the roadway was overtopped and now the roadway is actually acting as a levee going the other direction. So there would likely need to be some pumping operations to re-establish that roadway,” said Joseph Monroe, operations engineer for District 8 of the Illinois Department of Transportation, which includes Madison and St. Clair counties.
Flooding at a cross-over south of Clark Bridge makes it impossible to divert two-way traffic to the northbound lanes of 67. Monroe said southbound traffic across the bridge will most likely remain closed through the first few days of the work week.
Other significant St. Louis area road closures include:
- Route 143 at Wood River
- Route 3 through East Alton (depending on road damage could reopen Monday)
- Route 94 near West Alton.
- Riverview Drive just south of I-270 in St. Louis*
- Route T between Labadie and St. Albans in Franklin County (caused by a road slide)
- Route 61/67 at Route M in Jefferson County
- Route 61/67 at Joachim in Jefferson County
- Route K east of Route in Jefferson County
- Route M between I-55 and Route 67 in Jefferson County*
- Route AA east of Route 67
*expected to reopen Monday after the morning commute
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation’s St. Louis district engineer, all state roads in St. Louis County have reopened.
“All the rest of the roads that were closed … were closed because of the Meramec River. That’s all down, so now this is the Mississippi River that’s flooding the rest of these,” said MoDOT district engineer Greg Horn. “That river is going down but it takes longer for that flood water to recede.”
Elementary students from St. Louis Public Schools relocated
Woodward Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School district is holding classes in a different building this week while flood-damaged boilers at Woodward are replaced.
In a news release, St. Louis Public Schools said students who ride the bus will catch their bus as usual and taken to L’Ouverture School at 3021 Hickory during the week of Jan. 4-8.
Students who walk or who are dropped off at school will be given a ride back and forth from Woodward to L’Ouverture.
Drinking water in Jefferson County
Several days of intermittent water access is at an end for 20,000 residents in Jefferson County.
Jefferson County’s emergency management director said Sunday that enough water has been pumped into the High Ridge water district’s tanks to make water towers operational once more.
“It’s still undergoing some tests before we can say that the water is potable, and they do still need to flush their system,” said Emergency Management Director Warren Robinson, “But we’re getting more water in those tanks and we’re hopeful that full service can be restored before too terribly much longer.”
While water service was intermittent, Jefferson County had a pick-up point for bottled water. The Missouri National Guard used U.S. Army Corps of Engineer tankers to refill the water district tanks, but until Sunday demand kept water pressure low or nonexistent in some locations.
A boil order remains in effect until the Missouri Department of Natural Resources can test the water in High Ridge.
Sewage treatment plants in St. Louis County
St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District spokesman Sean Hadley said Sunday that the Grand Glaize water treatment plant has resumed pumping water, relieving sewage backup in the basements of about 20 St. Louis County homes near Valley Park. Hadley said MSD is assessing Grand Glaize to determine whether it’s safe to resume water treatment. About 21 million gallons of untreated waste water continues to flow into the Meramec River each day while the Grand Glaize plant is closed. The plant was closed Dec. 31 to prevent damage.
MSD’s Fenton treatment plant closed Dec. 28 after flooding caused a power failure. Hadley said Sunday that MSD is still working to pump water out of that plant to assess the damage. About 7 million gallons of untreated sewer is going into the Meramec River daily from the Fenton treatment plant.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.