Bettendorf, Riverdale, Panorama Park sewage pumped into Mississippi River for 14 days

Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park sewage was flushed into the Mississippi River between April 29 and May 9.

The City of Bettendorf pumped 179 million gallons of untreated sewage mixed with stormwater runoff into the river, according to reports filed with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Neither the city or the state estimate how much actual sewage is pumped directly into the river as a result of such "Sanitary Sewer Overflows" (SSO's).

The disposing of sewage directly into the river has become less frequent with capacity upgrades to the sewage treatment plant in Davenport and repairs to sewer lines in both Bettendorf and Davenport to reduce infiltration of storm water into the sewer lines.

However, during flooding and after heavy rains, the flow into the treatment plant continues to exceed capacity and the "gate" to the main sewer interceptor line along River Drive is closed.

When the gate is closed, Bettendorf pumps sewage directly from the its riverfront sewer interceptor line into the storm water system that empties into the Mississippi River just below Lock & Dam 15. The "bypassing" of raw sewage treatment from Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park enables Bettendorf to avoid the back-up of sewage into homes and businesses along the riverfront.

The treatment plant owners – Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park – obtained approval from the Iowa DNR several years ago to delay building a large "equalization basin" adjacent to the plant. The basin is intended to handle the large overflows to the plant during times of heavy rains and flooding, gradually releasing the contaminated water into the plant for treatment and eventually release into the Mississippi River.

Under the court-approved consent order with the Iowa DNR, the equalization basin is now scheduled to be completed by July 1, 2025.

CLICK HERE to download the sewage bypass report filed recently by Bettendorf with the Iowa DNR.

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