Mississippi River

Group issues scathing report on EPA, states' efforts to reduce nutrient pollution of Mississippi River; cites 2015 'close call' involving QC water supply

Voluntary initiatives by the U.S. EPA and 10 states bordering the Mississippi over the past 20 years have largely failed to rein in harmful nitrogen and phosphorus pollution by cities, farms and industry, according to a scathing report issued today (11/17) by an environmental and legal group focused on protecting the Mississippi River watershed.

"Though the EPA has consistently and emphatically urged states to take measures to combat nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, its encouragement has come without enforceable regulations, specific deadlines or funding for implementation," the report by the Mississippi River Collaborative says. "Not surprisingly, the problem persists, especially in the Mississippi River, despite a variety of Clean Water Act tools and viable regulatory options available to states."

The analysis of nutrient pollution of lakes, rivers and streams in the Mississippi River watershed – entitled "Decades of Delay" – says the 10 states bordering the country's longest river have failed to establish any numeric limits for nitrogen discharges and only two states have set numeric limits for phosphorus pollution.

Dumping of sewage into Mississippi River remains common summer occurrence, but system upgrades appear to be reducing frequency, quantities

As Davenport and Bettendorf complete the third year of a court-ordered sewer system improvement program, dumping of raw sewage into the Mississippi River remains an issue during summer months after heavy rains.

However, there are signs the effort to seal leaky sewer lines and fix blockages in riverfront interceptors is reducing the volume of raw and partially treated sewage that is pumped into the river.

Alcoa seeks approval to boost discharge of pollutants into Mississippi River by 24 percent

Alcoa's Davenport Works wants to increase the amount of pollutants it can discharge into the Mississippi River by 24 percent to accommodate higher quantities of oil/grease, chromium, zinc, cyanide and other suspended solids generated by expansion of the Riverdale plant to serve the automotive aluminum market.

The company is seeking modification of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The permit revisions, if approved, would allow the plant to discharge a combined average of 548 pounds of pollutants each day into the river. That's an average of 106 pounds per day more than the plant's current permitted discharge.

Based on the plant's 312 production days each year, the change would permit the plant to dispose of an additional 33,000 pounds of those pollutants into the river annually.

Unsightly truck auctions now a city 'enterprise' thanks to $1.9 million state purchase for bridge

The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) this spring paid $1.9 million to acquire 3.8 acres of Bettendorf riverfront property – owned by the Goldstein family's Green Bridge Company – needed for the new Interstate 74 Bridge.

The land was part of the property once hyped as the future site of a Mark Twain-themed amusement park by gambling proponents setting off to lobby the Iowa legislature in the early 1990's.

Davenport plant discharges 132 million gallons of partially treated sewage into Mississippi River

The amount of partially treated sewage dumped into the Mississippi River by Davenport's Sewage Treatment Plant last month totaled more than 136 million gallons.

The so-called "bypassed" sewage received only primary – not secondary – treatment because flows to the plant on Concord Street were beyond its capacity as storm water runoff infiltrated sewer lines after heavy rains.

As the sewage flows backed up in lines to the treatment plant, Bettendorf pumped more than 29 million gallons of sewage and storm water into the river after the heavy rains in late June and early July.

Latest sewage bypass lasted four days and totaled 18.4 million gallons pumped into Mississippi River

Bettendorf pumped 18.4 million gallons of untreated sewage mixed with storm water into the Mississippi River over a four-day period earlier this month after heavy rain and high water clogged the main interceptor along the riverfront and flows overwhelmed the treatment capacity of the Davenport/Bettendorf sewage treatment plant.

Pumps along the riverfront operated from June 14 through June 18, transferring back-up in the sewer lines into storm water pipes that empty into the river.

Despite interceptor work, high water and heavy rain result in Bettendorf dumping raw sewage into river

Despite $2 million in storm sewer interceptor work, high water and heavy rains are again forcing Bettendorf to dump raw sewage into the Mississippi River.

Pigeon Creek Park reflections

Trees in Bettendorf's Pigeon Creek Park reflect off the calm waters of the Mississippi River. The park provides wintering habitat for bald eagles, and during summer months a wide variety of birds can be seen in the park woodlands and savanna areas.
Click here for a walkabout video. (2.1 MB Quicktime)

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