NRD planning updates for Salt Creek Levee

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LINCOLN, Neb.-- May, 2015, was a difficult time for several Lincoln homeowners and business owners,

Rain hammered Lincoln causing severe flooding in several parts of the city, voluntary evacuations and tens of thousands of dollars in damages to personal property.

The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD) said the Salt Creek Levee filled to within one foot of overtopping, but never did, and saved about $87 million in damages.

However, Ed Glaser, who owns Glaser Ceramics in Lincoln, was not one of the fortunate people to escape damage.

"The water had filled up about four feet from the street into the business," Glaser said, "about five inches deep."

Glaser's company is situated near 27th and Theresa St., near the Theresa Street Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Salt Creek Levee. Last May, the city reported that the facility was at capacity and had to discharge untreated sewage into Salt Creek.

Glaser said some of that sewage flooded into his basement along with the water.

The NRD said that facility is up to the city to manage, but, they still believe there are ways to improve Salt Creek. They invited homeowners and business owners to an open house Thursday to discuss their plans for updating the levee, which Glaser attended.

"We're trying to just find out how it works," Glaser said, "and what, in the future, is going to happen if we have this kind of flood again."

The NRD said they're working with JEO consulting group on a system-wide improvement framework plan (SWIF). The plan involves "a comprehensive evaluation of Salt Creek and the levee system through Lincoln," according to Glenn Johnson, the NRD's general manager.

Johnson said the plan will help keep the levee in good working order for the next 50 years, but he still wants to hear feedback from the community.

"We have some area of erosion within the stream itself up against the levees," Johnson said.

"We've already done some pipe replacement."

Johnson also wanted to provide families with tips for preparing for the next potential flood. Johnson said water could always overflow no matter how high the levee.

He suggested moving valuable items and items more susceptible to water damage to higher floors in a home, and said families should prepare an evacuation plan in case they have to leave their homes.

For Glaser, he just wants answers for the future, which is why he was happy to learn more Thursday evening.

"There was sewage and other things that we couldn't even clean to resell," Glaser said.

"We just threw away."

To learn more, you can visit the NRD's website and offer feedback here --> http://www.lpsnrd.org/