Wet conditions continue causing havoc with sewer systems and have led to thousands of gallons of wastewater being released into waterways. The latest problems happened in northeast Iowa Tuesday, where Iowa Department of Natural Resources environmental specialist Jodi Jeanes says things plagued sewer systems.
Jeanes says heavy rains and the melting snow created some of the bypasses, and a couple were due to mechanical problems brought on by severe lightning and hail. Thousands of gallons of wastewater were released in the bypasses in Jeanes’ area, but she says there shouldn’t be any health concerns.
Jeanes says the heavy rains should help dilute the sewage that’s been released and pose less of a problem than if the release had occurred in say July, when water levels would be lower. Jeanes says the sewage system operators are also required to do testing of the material being released.
Jeanes says the releases are better than the alternative of having the sewage back up into homes.
She says the sewage could back up into homes or cause damage to lagoon cells that would end up costing cities, and eventually the public, money. Jeanes says the ground in northeast Iowa is saturated and the bypasses may not be over.
Jeanes says the problems could continue throughout the week if the forecast for more rain is correct. The communities are required to report sewage bypasses to the DNR within 10 hours. The following communities have recently reported bypasses to the DNR: Arlington in Fayette County (3,000 gallons); Asbury in Dubuque County (100,000 to 200,000 gallons); Cedar Falls in Black Hawk County; Denver in Bremer County (at least 5,000 gallons); Garnavillo in Clayton County (about 5,000 gallons); Holstein in Ida County (1,000 gallons); New Hartford in Butler County (about 18,000); Oelwein in Fayette County (about 5,000 gallons); Wellsburg in Grundy County (about 238,000 gallons); West Liberty in Muscatine County (approximately 25,000 gallons).