The DNR’s reporting the second spill in a week, with the release of untreated wastewater Wednesday into a creek near Council Bluffs. The tributary of the Mosquito Creek flows into the Missouri River. Problems at the lift station in Underwood could let the problem continue through Friday. Des Moines waterworks director L-D McMullen says actually, that’s not the worst that could happen to what he calls an “aquatic environment.” He says spills of things like gas and oil are worse compared to biological things like manure.McMullen says following the floods of 1993, the emphasis was on disaster preparedness. But more recently he says managers set about doing “source-water assessments,” so they’d be ready for local emergencies, like a chemical or wastewater spill. He’s been identifying things in the area that could cause a water-quality problem and planning what should be done in case of a spill. This week’s fifty-thousand-gallon manure spill upriver from Des Moines sent animal waste into the Raccoon River, but McMullen says it didn’t threaten the capital city’s drinking water.He says it was good to be notified, but the city’s not taking water from the Raccoon and didn’t have to change anything. McMullen explains the waterworks had switched to the Des Moines River for its lower nitrate levels. The DNR has notified cities including Council Bluffs and Omaha about the Underwood sewage spill.
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