WINDSOR HEIGHTS – Heavy rainfall and extensive flooding throughout most of the state makes many Iowa streams unsafe for recreation.
While fast stream currents are the biggest risk for people, high waters can also carry dangerous debris and bacteria. “For their own safety, we’re recommending people stay out of the water until several days after streams return to normal,” said Ted Petersen, supervisor of DNR’s Windsor Heights field office.
“Following heavy rains, almost 100 communities from Keokuk to Waterloo, from Dubuque to Clarinda have reported wastewater discharges since October 1,” he said.
“Widespread heavy rainfall overwhelmed city treatment plants and a number of livestock operations have reported overflowing manure storage systems,” Petersen said. “Most of these facilities have national pollution prevention discharge elimination system or NPDES permits.” Put simply, an NPDES permit allows them to overflow due to heavy rains.
One discharging livestock facility, Cyclone Cattle near Macedonia in Pottawattamie County, has an expired NPDES permit. “Its lagoons have recently been pumped out and there are no animals in the facility.”
Managers of city and industrial wastewater treatment plants, and livestock facilities that are discharging or expecting to discharge should contact their local DNR field office. “We’ll work with them to identify solutions and minimize impacts to nearby streams,” Petersen said.
After hours, facilities can call the DNR emergency spill line at 515-725-8694. The DNR website has more information about spill reporting requirements.