The Iowa Department of Natural Resources begins a series of meetings tonight  to talk with cities about the impact of proposed new water quality standards on their wastewater treatment plants.

Adam Schnieders worked on the water quality standards for the DNR, and says the rule created in 2006 installed what they call a "rebuttable preassumption," which means that all waters in the state should be protected the same as the Mississippi River. Schneiders says this is the next step in an ongoing process.

He says they’ve been doing fieldwork the last two summers where there’s discharge from regulated facilities and determine what their "highest attainable uses" are and now are making rules to govern the quality of the water. Schnieders says these meetings are preliminary talks before public hearings on the new rules governing the wastewater facilities.

Schnieders says they want to go over the findings which each cities and the uses they see for the water, and how that will impact the output of the wastewater plants. Schnieders says some wastewater plants may face some costly changes to improve the water they pour into streams and river. But, he says there will be time to make the changes. He says there’s a planning process built in because large infrastructure improvements don’t happen overnight. Schnieders says there will be a lot of options, and that’s something they will talk about at these meetings.

The first meetings are tonight at 8 at the Spencer Public Library, and the Mason City Public Library. Other meetings are October 11th from nine A.M. to one P.M. at the Manchester Public Library; October 12th from one to five P.M. at the Atlantic Public Library; October 15th from nine A.M. to 1 P.M. at the Des Moines DNR State Office Building; October 18th from one to five p.m. at the Washington Public Library.