Workers are making progress in returning the Cedar Rapids Wastewater Treatment Plant back to normal. After the floods hit, the city was dumping all of it’s raw sewage into the Cedar River. Today, the plant is treating about 40 percent of the water before it goes into the river.
Utilities and Environmental Manager Steve Hershner says the plant is now filling giant holding tanks. The tanks take the water from the sewer system and let the solids sink to the bottom. "The is one stage of many as we get different parts of the process started up and different stages of treatment. It’s taken a lot of work to get this far, it’s going to take more to get back to where we were," Hershner said.
Utilities Operations Manager Greg Eyerly says about 85% of the plant’s processes were affected by the flood. It’ll cost approximately $75 million to make the final repairs, but Eyerly says those repairs will make the 30 year old plant almost like new.
"Basically we have to build the plant from the inside out. Typically it takes years to built a wastewater treatment plant, but we’re having to do that in weeks and months," Eyerly said. Officials believe the plant will be back to 100% working order by mid-October. They say the only problems are with the water going down the drain and that the drinking water supply in Cedar Rapids is fine.