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City to replace aging 'odor-emitting' lift station near southwest Lake Mitchell

The $1.1 million project will help drastically improve the storm water drainage system around the residential area that experienced flooding woes in 2019

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Shown here is the lift station that the city of Mitchell is replacing along the West 23rd Street and North Ohlman Street intersection near Lake Mitchell.
Sam Fosness / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — An aging lift station that services residents near the southwest side of Lake Mitchell will be replaced in the near future.

Replacing the lift station that sits on the corner of West 23rd Avenue and North Ohlman Street near Twin City Fan has been on the city's radar as of recent due to its "poor condition" and strong odor emitting from it.

“This project was identified in SPN and Associates’ 2020 Sanitary Sewer System Utility Plan,” Public Works Director Joe Schroeder said.

Considering the lift station services many of the residential homes surrounding the southwest portion of Lake Mitchell and the Pheasant Ridge apartment complex, Schroeder said the project will aim to drastically improve the stormwater drainage in the area, which has experienced issues in the past.

The project is estimated to cost $1.1 million. The Mitchell City Council recently approved hiring SPN and Associates to lead the $49,500 design phase of the project.

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During a spring flood in 2019 that pummeled Mitchell with nearly 3 inches of rain in less than a 24 hour time period, the Ohlman lift station was among several in the city that struggled to handle the high volume of water intake. As a result of the lift station issues, a handful of basements inside homes around the southwest side of the lake were flooded with water.

Mayor Bob Everson said several of the city’s 14 lift stations also experienced technical issues during the March 2019 flood, prompting city crews to manually pump stormwater from the lift stations into a man-hole. Lift stations have pumps that move wastewater, which flows into a tank and gets pumped out to the sewer lines throughout the city.

With the city’s plan to replace the lift station that’s believed to have been constructed 48 years ago, Everson said he’s hopeful it will help the city avoid a similar problem in the future.

“Upgrading our lift stations is extremely vital because they are what handles all the water in those big rain events like we saw in 2019,” he said.

While the lift station sits on the north side of West 23rd Avenue, Schroeder said the new station will be relocated across the street along the south side of the road. According to Schroeder, the 23rd Avenue and Ohlman Street lift station was built with salvage materials from another site, which he noted makes the actual age of the lift station unknown.

Regardless of its age, Schroeder said the lift station is in poor condition, noting it emits odor and experiences grease accumulation.

To fund the project, Schroeder said it will be included in the city’s list of projects that are eligible for receiving grant money from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

According to City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein, the city could potentially receive up to around $12 million of the state’s $600 million worth of funds from the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law recently as an effort to relieve cities and states struggling with pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls.

Related Topics: LAKE MITCHELL
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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