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DNR Investigates Potential Wastewater Entering Stream in Shelby County

HARLAN – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating reports of land application of process wastewater potentially entering a stream after receiving numerous telephone calls from concerned citizens.

A contractor was land applying wastewater from Essentia, a processing facility in Harlan (Shelby County) under its chapter 200 license, which is issued by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. However, the DNR received reports that the processed wastewater was entering the West Nishnabotna River after it was applied. DNR staff collected samples on Friday to determine if any of wastewater reached the river.

Prior to DNR staff leaving the site, the contractor installed an earthen berm to prevent any further discharge. The investigation is ongoing.

The DNR will consider appropriate enforcement action, if necessary.

“We really want to thank the people who took time to call us and alert us to this situation,” said Jessica Montana, supervisor of the DNR’s Environmental Services field office in Atlantic.

“The quicker we can get on the scene of a situation like this, the better chance we have of getting the accurate data we need to properly assess the potential impact, but more importantly, the quicker we can work with the responsible party to get material contained,” Montana added.

Montana said it is important to avoid land application of wastewater and manure when conditions are not favorable like when the ground is saturated because it can result in the material being carried to surface water through runoff.

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