Rainfall causes equipment failure at Kansas wastewater plant

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Flooding in Ottawa, Kansas (KMBC) Flooding in Ottawa, Kansas (KMBC)
Flooding in Ottawa, Kansas (WDAF) Flooding in Ottawa, Kansas (WDAF)
OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) -

Lawrence officials say heavy rainfall has forced its wastewater treatment plant to shut down, diverting sewage into the Kansas River and nearby streams.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports Thursday that the exceptionally heavy rainfall caused equipment failure at the Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city shut down the plant for repairs.

The city is advising the public and their pets to avoid contact with any floodwater in low-lying flooded areas because of potential contamination.

The city says the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and municipalities downstream have been notified.

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Flash flooding was reported in parts of eastern Kansas after up to 10 inches of rain was reported in some areas.

The National Weather Service in Topeka says the rain fell early Thursday in Jefferson, Douglas, Franklin and Anderson counties.

The weather service issued a flash flood warning for those counties, where another 1 to 3 inches of rain is possible.

KMBC reports several water rescues were needed early Thursday north of downtown Ottawa, where more than 7 inches fell overnight.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said many roads around Lawrence and the county are flooded. More than 3.5 inches of rain was reported at the Lawrence Municipal Airport by 9 a.m. Thursday.

The flash flood warning includes parts of the Kansas Turnpike/Interstate 70 and Interstate 35 in those counties.