The Water Department is very fortunate that flooding for the most part has very little effect on the water quality and quantity for the City of Beatrice. All our wells are either out of the 100 year floodplain or built up a couple of feet above the 100 year flooding stage.
When it does flood we do take some extra precautions with the transmission water main that brings water to the city. We actually shut down one of the transmission lines that is overhead of the river to assure that if it is washed out that the 8 million gallons of water in the two underground reservoirs would not be discharged from a potential break in the water main.
The other transmission line does not have any over head crossings and is much less likely to have problems with only a couple smaller creek crossings to worry about.
Most of the water we actually use in the city comes from the wells that are lower in nitrates and comes from the available transmission water main that has less chance of washing out. At this wellfield two of the wells are not accessible due to flooding but as mentioned are above the 100 year floodplain level. We do not operate these wells when flooding occurs to be on the safe side. After the flood waters have receded we test these wells for bacteria before they are put back in service.
There is sufficient water available from the other two wells to supply the city’s needs. There is also backup generation available if needed during this flooding condition.
The biggest concern is when both Highway 136 & Highway 77 are closed from the flood waters. Most of the employee’s are available to the north side of the river. We have two employee’s living on the west side of town and one employee living on the south side of town.
So we usually take a truck supplied with various repair parts and a backhoe over on the south side of the river to address emergencies on the west and south sides of town. These employees are also available to respond to the wellfield supplying water to Koch Nitrogen, Agrium and Farmers COOP at the Hoag locations.
Once the river has dropped below flood stage we usually have several fire hydrants that need to have the oil replaced in them and make sure they are in operating condition. This needs to be done as soon as possible to prevent rusting of the operating parts of the fire hydrants.
Also once the river has dropped to near normal levels an inspection is made of the river crossing to assure it is ready to be put back into service. Once this is all done we are operating as normal.
So flooding for the most part has little effect on our water supply. But I have learned to never say never as situations do happen.