SHELDON—The Sheldon Golf & Country Club was one of many water hazards in and around the community last week after another round of the rain pelted the region.
Nearly the entire nine-hole course that’s northeast of town was underwater Thursday, June 21. The Floyd River runs directly through the middle of the facility.
According to club manager Lynn Shoberg, the second round of flooding started in the evening on Wednesday, June 20, and it was the second week in a row the course flooded.
“We hadn’t totally gotten dry from the last time, but it was looking good and they had mowed everything,” she said.
Water from the river started escaping its bed late in the evening on June 20 and by the morning portions of the course looked like a lake. Water was rushing so fast underneath a bridge north of the clubhouse that Shoberg said people jokingly thought it looked prime for water activities.
“People were saying they could have surfed,” she said.
From June 20 to June 25, more than 7 inches of rain had fallen on Sheldon, according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, SD.
On average, Sheldon receives about 4.5 inches of precipitation in the month of June. It already has received more than 11.5 inches this June.
The additional moisture has kept city crews busy.
Sheldon city manager Sean Hutchison said the city had 10 pumps of various sizes staged and operating throughout the town, some of which were borrowed from contractors, during the heavy rains to try to prevent the sanitary sewers from backing up. With raining also falling on Sunday, the process was repeated as a precautionary measure.
“I commend our public works crews,” he said. “They have a very good understanding of the hydraulic flow of both the water and wastewater collection system and were able to place those pumps in specific areas to assist the pumping down to the wastewater treatment plant itself and doing so, they were able to eliminate many, many sewer backups that would have occurred otherwise.
Hutchison thinks the city’s effort paid off and said only six homes reported substantial basement flooding due to sewers backing up.
“This is separate from any other wet basement issues from people that have had clogged eaves or water getting into the basement through cracks and walls,” he said.
Hutchison noted the biggest issue for the city during times like that is the untold number of illicit connections, meaning a person has their sump pump hooked up to the sanitary sewer line.
“It’s compiling the issue,” he said. “You have regular rainfall and then you have people that are pumping rainwater directly into the sanitary sewer system. With the total amount of rainfall and illicit discharges, we’re only able to pump so much.”
Another step the city took was taking its water wells north of the wastewater treatment plant offline after flood waters surrounded them to ensure the city’s water system was not compromised. Hutchison said the city has been in contact with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on the matter. Once the waters recede, a company will inspect the wells and clean and disinfect them.
Overall, Hutchison said he thinks Sheldon was pretty fortunate during the round of flooding, especially compared to other cities in the region.
Back at the golf course, Shoberg is still waiting on the waters to recede. She has worked at the course since 2009 and has seen it flooded in 2010 and 2013, but said this flood is the worst without question.
“We’ve had various members come out this morning to talk and say, ‘This was worse than it was in ’93.’” Shoberg said.