MUSCATINE, Iowa – A new sluice gate was installed inside Papoose Creek Lift Station in Riverside Park Monday (March 8, 2021) completing a much needed repair that has been two years in the making.
The sluice gate is used to prevent runoff from the Papoose Creek tunnel from heavy rain events and/or water from the Mississippi River at flood stage from backing up into the sanitary sewer system and potentially pushing sanitary discharge into the basement of some downtown businesses.
“We were afraid to try and use the gate during the last high water event (in 2019) because we were not sure we could open the gate once we closed it,” Jon Koch, Water & Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) Director said.
The project has been in the works since 2019 when record flooding caused multiple basement backups in the downtown area. A new gate was purchased in December 2019 but installation was delayed by the level of the Mississippi River and the need for more labor and equipment than was available through the WRRF.
Koch noted that the City is required to keep the gate open to allow for water coming down Papoose Creek to enter into the Lift Station wet well where it is then pumped to the WRRF. The gate may be closed during high water or periods of heavy runoff based on the ability of the wet well pumps to keep up with the flow as determined by WRRF staff.
When the sluice gate is closed, the Papoose Creek water pushes out into the Mississippi River causing a CSO, or Combined Sewer Overflow.
“There are still some combined sewers that flow down through the Papoose Creek tunnel,” Koch said. “And that is what the West Hill project is correcting. Once the project is completed we will have fewer CSO’s to worry about and businesses in the downtown area will be better protected from sewer backups.”
Miller Trucking and Excavating was the low qualified bidder for the installation of the sluice gate and completed the installation late Monday night.