DES MOINES - Record rains Thursday, followed by heavy overnight rains, have caused discharges of partially treated or untreated wastewater from many cities in southern and eastern Iowa.
Heavy rainfalls can overwhelm collection systems with inflows of storm water, particularly when the systems are old or not well maintained. Record rainfalls can overwhelm even newer systems causing bypasses from manholes and pumping stations.
Several cities have reported to the DNR that they are bypassing wastewater to prevent sewage back-ups into people's basements. Backups into homes and businesses are considered a greater risk to human health than bypassing.It's important for people in the heavy rainfall areas to avoid contact with swollen streams which may have an elevated bacterial count.