Iowa Power Outages Lead to Sewage Problems

Feb. 27, 2007

Power outages caused by severe weather led to sewage spills from several Iowa treatment facilities.

One spill occurred in Fairfield, where the sewage was routed to Crow Creek and generators were employed to avoid a back up into the plant.

Russell Royce of the Department of Natural Resources told the Des Moines Register that the situation could have been dangerous. If the plant backs up with wastewater, significant damage could occur to the electrical equipment inside.

Another sewage spill was reported at West Liberty into Wapsinonoc Creek. Officials reported that electricity was restored in under an hour so the amount of sewage spilled was minimal.

The city of Fort Madison was forced to bypass partially treated sewage into the Mississippi River after a power outage that was then followed by a failed generator.

Other cities that reported bypassing over the weekend due to power problems were Garrison in Benton County, Mt. Vernon in Linn County, Westgate in Fayette County and Plymouth in Cerro Gordo County.

Natural resources spokesman Kevin Baskins told the Des Moines Register that bypassing sewage is sometimes necessary if it avoids having sewage back up into private homes and businesses.

Source: Des Moines Register

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