All of the recent rain have caused numerous wastewater bypasses across the state. Iowa Department of Natural Resources environmental specialist Al Tompkins says that bypassing has to be done to prevent greater health risks.Tompkins says when collection systems can not keep up with the rainfall, wastewater bypasses have to be done to prevent the wastewater from backing up into basements. He says the heavy rain takes care of most health risks surrounding a wastewater bypass. He says the rain dilutes the wastewater and sewage making it much less of a health risk than if that wastewater backed up into someone’s basement. Tompkins says a different kind of bypassing is more of an environmental concern.Tompkins says bypassing of undiluted sewage garners a bit more attention from the D-N-R as that can really raise the contaminant level of receiving streams. Bypassing in the collection system or at the headwork’s of the wastewater plant was reported in Mason City, Charles City, Rudd, Klemme, Kensett, Manly, Buffalo Center and Forest City. The Iowa Ethanol plant in Hanlontown reported plugging the discharge line from the storm water pond due to a spill last week. The pond filled rapidly and possible structural damage was expected, so the D-N-R allowed the discharge line to be opened. The heavy rain should have diluted the spilled substance, syrup, before entering the receiving stream.
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