City’s Sanitary Sewer System backing up

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – Main St. in Albert Lea is now closed in both directions between Broadway Ave. and Katherine St. because the water is even higher than it was Wednesday.

City officials are dealing with detours on that stretch and part of Lakeview Blvd. because of flooding, but that is not their biggest problem right now.

“We had water in our basement and this has not been the first time,” said Linda Markrid of Albert Lea.

She and her family woke up to quite a mess Thursday morning. Their basement was wet and with more than just water.

“Water was coming out of the sewer right here, and there’s sewer right here you can see on the floor,” Markrid said pointing out the mess.

“I was hoping not, because my husband’s been trying to keep up with it, but with the water as much as we had, I knew that we would get some,” Markrid said.

Cleaning up the wet basement is one thing, but Markrid and her husband have put quite a bit of money into trying to fix the problem.

“We have replaced this wall and this wall, and the water’s just been keeping coming up and up and up,” Markrid said.

Outside her front door is the sound of the city doing their best to tackle the issue. They are manually helping the sanitary sewer system that has backed up because of high flows thanks to the rain.

“In order to relieve the pressure on the sewer system, we put a pump in the sewer system and then we pump that sewage, diluted water sewage into the storm sewer system,” said Albert Lea City Engineer Steve Jahnke.

He said that is going into the area lakes, but they would rather have that than what is happening to basements like Markrid’s.

To help the cause, the city is asking that you avoid using any unnecessary water yourself.

“We are catching up, things are looking better. As long as it quits raining we’ll be in good shape, however, everything is saturated, it doesn’t take much rain. If we get hit by rain like we’re supposed to again [Thursday] night, we’re going to be right back up into that maximum capacity again,” Jahnke said.

As if the rain was not enough, a couple of the lift stations around town lost power. So city workers have been hooking up generators to those so they can function properly again.

The Salvation Army is offering cleanup kits if your sewer system did back up. You can find them at 302 Court St.

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