KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s something in the water, and it’s forced Lake Waukomis to close for nearly a week.
A power outage late Thursday night ultimately ended with sewage leaking into the lake.
The lake is partially back open Wednesday night. Boats are allowed on the water but swimmers and kayakers are not.
The city of Lake Waukomis is in the Northland near I-29 and Northwest 72nd Street. It’s a private lake with less than 1,000 residents.
The lake’s bacteria levels were so bad last week that it forced everyone out of the water. It’s getting better but still not considered safe for recreational use.
A single pontoon glides alone on the waters of Lake Waukomis. Others remain tied to the dock after nearly a week of bacteria issues.
Scott Barbour’s lived at the lake for a couple of years. Never seeing anything like a sewage leak before. He says he got the alert late last week.
“It said something about there was a sewage leak and stay out of the lake, don’t go swimming,” Barbour said. “It’s kind of a crappy situation but things happen and you just kind of have to roll with it.”
A power outage last Thursday night caused the lake’s pump station to shut down, forcing wastewater to overflow from a manhole and into the lake.
The outage lasted five hours before the system came back online.
KC Water, which manages the city’s wastewater, told FOX4 in a statement that it’s testing the water daily and will continue to do so until bacteria levels are considered “safe for recreational use.”
Only a few areas of the lake are affected. The majority is OK but the concern is wind might be pushing waste further in the water.
That’s one reason why the city of Lake Waukomis is waiting until at least next week to open up the entire lake for swimming and other activities.
“I mean, things happen. It’s a tight knit community and things break, and we fix it. There’s a lot of people that care about making this community a good place to live,” Barbour said.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Sewage leaked from a Kansas City Waste Department pumping station back in July of 2018. Just like this time, it took a few hours to get back online but not before doing some damage.
FOX4 spoke with the city’s homeowner’s association, which say it will advocate for safeguards to make sure this never happens again.
FOX4 asked KC Water what the bacteria levels looked like last Friday when compared to Wednesday. We also enquired about Wednesday’s test results, but have yet to hear back.