A blizzard one week, a drastic warmup the next. The Northland continues to experience extreme weather conditions and recent snowmelt has already wreaked havoc across the area.

There are Flood Warnings and Flood Watches across the area, along with many closed roads related to snowmelt. Meanwhile, many residents across the Northland have already experienced snowmelt-related flooding at their homes and businesses.

On Thursday, the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) said snowmelt is continuing to cause high flows in Dululth's sanitary sewer collection system.

According to their press release, peak flow to the wastewater treatment plant exceeded 120 million gallons per day on Tuesday, April 11th, and continues to flow at nearly three times the standard rate of 38 million gallons per day.

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Having wet weather in the weekend forecast certainly won't help things, so WLSSD wanted to remind residents that the spring thaw often brings water-related incidents. Flooding due to swelling creeks and rivers, sump pump failures, or sewer backups are not uncommon, so people should plan ahead.

Ways to prepare for flood potential include doing a quick sweep of your basement and storing items in water-safe tubs or off the floor on shelving or in cabinets. Northland residents are also encouraged to unplug electronic items and safely store hazardous materials.

Reducing the amount of water flowing into the sanitary sewer is also extremely helpful and this can be done in a variety of ways. Simply sending less water down the drain from your home or business decreases the gallons sent through our pipes and pumps.  Also, ensure that all sump pumps and drains are sending water into the yard and away from homes and buildings.

WLSSD continually provides updates to the high-flow situation online. They assure everyone they are working round the clock to support the collection system and any potential threats to public health and our environment.

Residents are encouraged to report any overflow from a manhole and avoid contact with any sewer overflow due to the potential for exposure to disease-causing organisms.

Storm sewers and sanitary sewers may also lift and move manhole covers creating dangerous fall hazards when the overflow ceases.  Contact the WLSSD at 722-3336 to report overflowing manholes or any open manholes. That line is available 24 hours per day.

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