Cleanup continues at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism after flood waters from Sept. 3 got into the basement of the area headquarters building on SW 25th Avenue and Lake Road.
Rushing water has been replaced by roaring fans in the basement of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism headquarters building at SE 25th Avenue and Lake Road, east of Pratt.
Water got into basement of the main office from both the east and west ends during the Ninnescah River flood on Sept. 3.
All the staff offices in the basement have been moved to the main floor and will stay there until the basement has been aired out and is dry.
Staff members discovered the water getting in through the back wall of the building on Labor Day and they used dry vacuums to pull up the water, said Keith Sexson, assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Boating.
They worked through Monday and when they left Monday night, the water was cleared up. But when they came back on Tuesday, the water had returned and was all over the basement floor.
“We needed to keep the equipment going,” Sexson said.
Stovers Restoration of Maize has been hired to help get things back to normal in the basement. They arrived Tuesday and got to work. Fans are now everywhere in the basement, expected to evaporate the moisture. Automatic dehumidifiers pull the moisture out of the air and send it by tubes to existing drains, said Nick Benford, Stovers restoration technician.
Sexson said it will take several days to get the moisture cleared out. The carpet is water soaked and the furniture, plus other items on the floor, got wet also.
On the west end of the building, water seeped in through the bottom of the basement wall in the northwest corner. On the east end of the building water came down the back stairs and worked its way under the basement doorway. The high water mark is about a yard high and is still visible on the back door. When staff members discovered water cascading down the stairs, they set up sandbags to stop the water. There is a drain at the bottom of the stairwell but it was overwhelmed.
Sexson said the basement door held up very well and kept a lot of water out of the basement but some water did make its way into the building.
“The door held and kept a lot of water from coming in,” Sexson said.
Unfortunately, one of the sump pumps failed in the basement and that allowed more water into the building.
The water level was just a few inches high but the floor and anything on the floor got wet. Some paper items got wet. Exact damage to the building and contents are still being evaluated.
By Wednesday, Sept. 5, the muddy water had been cleaned up everywhere except for a storage room that still had some dried mud on the floor.
Fortunately, the water didn’t reach the technology in the building so the electricity and phone systems are still working. A couple of backup batteries on the floor did get wet but that was about it for electronics.
Outside the building, water got into an equipment trailer and several vehicles in the parking lot. Flood debris reaches the top of the bumpers on pickups and several vehicles have all doors and the trunk open to dry out, Sexson said. He also said fish were swimming in the parking lot.
Water overflowed both the catch and release pond and the kids fishing pond. It’s unknown how many fish, if any, are still in the ponds. Every pole and tree and bush and fence around fishing areas is covered with flood debris.
The north bank of the catch and release pond is now covered in sand from the river and the benches have floated away, Sexson said.
The fish hatchery also suffered some flood damage. A Kawasaki Mule sitting at the bottom of the ramp that leads into the fish hatchery was covered with water to top of seat. Brett Houdyshell, fish hatchery manager, said the company would try to get the vehicle serviceable again.
A couple of generators, a water heater, tank water pumps and a few other pieces of equipment were damage. They are letting those items dry out before seeing if they have to be replaced.
There are drains throughout the hatchery building but there was so much water that it was coming up through the drains and into the building, Houdyshell said.
Most of the hatchery is designed to get wet anyway so there wasn’t much dam- age to the building, just lots of mud to clean up. Water reached about two cinder blocks high though out the building and nearly reached the top of the fish hatching tanks. In the science lab, the water reached three feet high and soaked cabinets and contents but didn’t reach the drawers. Some scientific equipment was lost in the lab.
The fish hatchery ponds only have silt issues and just one had a very small breech but other than that, the hatchery ponds are in good shape, Houdyshell said.