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Heavy rainfall causes some wastewater overflows in northwest Iowa

SPENCER – Reports of wastewater discharges caused by heavy rains are trickling into environmental field offices for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“Anytime we get heavy rain in such a short period of time, we have discharges from wastewater treatment facilities,” said Ken Hessenius, field office supervisor.  

So far, seven city wastewater treatment and three livestock facilities have reported discharges of untreated or partially treated wastewater to the Spencer office following storms that brought more than five inches of rain to parts of northwest Iowa. All reports come from facilities that have federal national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permits which allow animal feeding operation with those permits to discharge after heavy rainfall.

Four wastewater overflows were reported to the Mason City field office and three at the Atlantic field office.

 “We advise people to stay out of flooded streams, primarily for their physical safety,” said Hessenius. “But high waters can also carry debris, bacteria, and diluted wastewater, too.”

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