City crews continue work to fix downtown sewer line, basic service restored in affected area

Blockage in a downtown sewer line led to flooding, traffic diversion, and restricted water use in the affected area.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) City Water Reclamation crews are working to fix the sewer line problem that caused flooding in a handful of Downtown Rapid City buildings Sept. 5 and continued to impact traffic along 7th Street on Sept. 6.

After four downtown locations reported flooding, the City restored basic sewer service and crews identified the problem area.

"It's about mid-block up in the alley, it looks like a very old tap into our sewer main that wasn't actually appropriately closed off when they took it out, and so it looks like an open hole into our main and so we found a lot of gravel in the main and it plugged it up tight," said David Vancleave, Superintendent of Rapid City Water Reclamation.

The alleyway between Main Street and Saint Joseph Street was blocked off as City crews worked to remove the gravel from the sewer line and then make the necessary repairs.

"Crews were able to restore the sewer line and basically kind of get things back in order, still working today on the gravel clean up, also working on as we move through the weekend into next week, they'll be continuing to inspect and evaluate the causes," said Darrell Shoemaker, Communications Coordinator for the City of Rapid City.

The exact cause of the gravel in the main line remains unknown at this point but the superintendent has some ideas.

"When they do construction projects they use gravel for bedding pipe, and so there are a number of services in this area, and so that gravel is coming from those places where they bedded the pipe in those areas and as this open hole existed, eventually that gravel just slowly worked its way into the main line," Vancleave said.

The City said there is still a lot of cleanups but the final repairs to the line are expected to be done next week.

This is a developing story, we will continue to update this story as new details become available.