FENTON, Mo. — Jan. 21, 2016 — A wastewater treatment plant in Missouri will be offline for months after flooding in late December, according to news sources.

Historic rains and flooding along the Meramec River forced the shutdown of two treatment plants in St. Louis County and caused damage to a third plant.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) said it would be some time before the Fenton plant, which was fully submerged, is completely operational again.

“Our top priorities are to restore service to our customers and to help them recover from the basement backups they may have experienced,” commented MSD executive director Brian Hoelscher. “We have made significant progress, bringing the Grand Glaize Treatment Plant back to full wastewater treatment in a matter of weeks. The Fenton Treatment Plant suffered far worse flooding and more damage. Our work there will take more time and will be measured in months, versus weeks.”

CBS St. Louis reported that up to 12 million gallons of untreated water flows into the Meramec River every day, although on a dry day the amount is closer to six million gallons. According to MSD officials, that sewer flow accounts for less than 1 percent of water flowing into the Meramec.

“The pumping that we have set up is preventing any back-ups in the Fenton area,” spokesman Sean Hadley said. “And so by doing that, we’re keeping the system clean and pumping the system out into the Meramec untreated.”

Repairs to the three treatment plants damaged by flooding will cost around $16 million, most of which will be covered by insurance and disaster assistance from FEMA.