37 communities in northeast, north central Iowa bypass wastewater treatment after rains, flooding

Heavy rains and flooding has forced more than three dozen communities in north central and northeast Iowa to release untreated sewage into nearby streams and rivers, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

Resident living near those communities with private wells for drinking water are being cautioned by the IDNR about using those sources.

The rain and the resulting flooding caused overflows to a total of 37 wastewater treatment plants, forcing the facilities to bypass treatment to prevent backups of sewage into homes and businesses.

As of Thursday afternoon (9/22), bypasses had been reported at: Sumner, Spillville, Protovin, Monona, Waukon, New Hampton, Deborah, Farmersburg, Fredericksburg, West Union, Cresco, IP&L Lansing, Postville, Elgin (UV treatment), Elma, Lawler, Charles City, Eagle Grove, Forest City, Garner, Greene, Lake Mills, Manly, Mason City, Meservey, Nora Springs, Plymouth, Rudd, Stacyville, Swaledale, Thornton, Marble Rock, St. Ansgar, Plainfield, Waterville and Fort Atkinson.

Residents with wells affected by the flooding are urged to use alternative sources of water until their water systems can be checked by a state-certified well contractor.

“In most cases, shock chlorination will be effective in disinfecting the well, but disinfection will not provide protection from pesticides, heavy metals, fuels, oils and other types of non-biological contamination," the IDNR news release stated. "We would urge people to contact their local county health department or the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa for more information if they believe these types of contaminants might be in their well.”

Information for well owners affected by the flooding can be found at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/water/wells/well_flooding.pdf

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