Newton street maintenance staff responded to emergency calls throughout the night as heavy rains caused flooding in the Newton area.
Street barricades were set to alert drivers about flooded streets, and traffic control was placed to detour traffic. U.S. 50 Highway traffic west of Newton was detoured to Broadway because high water at the twin bridges made the highway impassable.
Crews continue to monitor local roads for flooding this morning and will run catch basin cleaning routes as well.
Utility maintenance staff placed sand bags at the Mission Water Treatment Plant west of town as high water on Emma Creek threatened to flood the plant. Emma Creek is still rising, and staff at the plant are monitoring flows and plant operations.
If a severe water emergency were to occur, the City would alert all media outlets with instructions to the public about water rationing. But at this point staff do not anticipate any severe problems.
High waters have posed special problems for the City’s sewer plant. The plant is at the low end of Newton’s drainage basin to allow for gravity flow of sanitary sewer into the plant, which is standard for wastewater treatment facilities.
However, during large rain events, it poses problems for plant flooding. This morning some buildings and processes are flooded and nonoperational. Street maintenance staff had to transport Wastewater Treatment Plant staff into the facility using a loader because flood waters from Sand Creek and Slate Creek overtopped entry roads.
As Sand Creek continues to rise and fall, Wastewater Treatment Plant staff will evaluate what cleanup and maintenance work is necessary. A standard Kansas Department of Health and Environment inspection scheduled for today will be postponed.
Street milling work by Kansas Paving that was scheduled for today on Meridian has been postponed until U.S. 50 is back open with normal traffic flow. In-house City street resurfacing has also been delayed.
According to Facebook posts by the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office, Harvey County is under a river flood warning until 1 a.m. Wednesday. The sheriff’s office also reported three hours ago they have received reports of water over the road on 96th Street by the bridge in Sedgwick. They have advised the public to remember the saying “Turn around; don’t drown.”
“Please be aware that although the forecast does not show rain, water is moving downstream from northern Kansas where rain was the heaviest,” a sheriff’s office Facebook page notice stated. “As it moves downstream, it causes the creeks, streams and rivers in Harvey County to rise resulting in flooded areas and roadways. Please be aware of your surroundings and stay tuned for updates as roads become un-passable or open back up! Remember to refer to http://511.kdot.org/ for updated road closing information! This information is also available by calling 511 from your phone.
The sheriff’s office also reported U.S. Highway from Halstead Road to Cow Palace Road is closed because of flooding. Many county roads are under water, they reported seven hours ago. The Facebook page reported 20 hours ago emergency responders were called to an injury accident with many subjects, a house fire, stranded drivers and a flooding basement.
Newton wasn’t the only town affected by the heavy rainfall Monday night. Many places in North Newton were flooded, including the parking lot at the south end of the strip mall where Super Collider Computers is located, the parking lot on the east side of the strip mall and ditches near Main and 24th streets. A skunk was even seen swimming through the flooded waters in North Newton. Bethel College wasn’t spared from the damage as the basement of Memorial Hall was flooded. Other buildings on campus also saw some water damage.
Sand Creek in Newton and North Newton has risen quite a bit. Sand Creek that runs parallel to the walking path near Bethel College had swelled to about four or five times its normal size, at least, as of Tuesday afternoon. It completely covered the concrete bridge over the creek.