News2019 Flood


Fremont Lakes closed due to flood damage, contaminated lake water threatens reopening date

Posted at 5:06 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 19:17:43-04

FREMONT, Neb. (KMTV) — Potentially contaminated water and damaged campgrounds are putting a hold on a neighborhood and state park cleanup.

The Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area is hoping to reopen once conditions are safe again for the thousand of campers that visit every year. Debris is scattered across the park and a bridge leading to a campsite washed away, so the camp is paving a new route.

"Just attack it one step at a time so that when we do open, everything is safe and ready to go for anybody that wants to be at the park," park superintendent Bill Booth said.

The possibility of contaminated lake water is threatening park access to the average 800,000 that visit every year. Booth and other employees and volunteers have been cleaning the grounds since last week.

"Right now, the whole area is closed," Booth said. "We'll learn more about what lakes are affected when we start doing more research with our fisheries division."

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will also play a part. It usually tests lake water at the park every three weeks from May to September. The department will start testing the 20 Fremont Lakes in the next two weeks.

"I would say there's a possibility that some lakes may be closed and others might not," Booth said. "Too early to tell, there's a lot of work going on."

Just a few miles away is the Lake Ventura neighborhood. Water is also contaminated there and homeowners can't do anything about docks or boats that are left in the water.

Tom Welty is the president for the neighborhood association. He says that no houses got flooded, but docks have been moved around. He says neighbors aren't allowed in the water due to the possible threat of E. coli, which Welty says they can later treat with chemicals.

"Once we get the clearance to get back into the lake, people can take their boats out and clear debris from the lake."

More damage left behind by the flood of 2019.

Nebraska Game and Parks is accepting volunteers to help with park cleanup. You can learn more here.