Des Moines, Iowa, discharges wastewater from multiple locations following heavy rainfall

May 23, 2024
Multiple locations in Des Moines discharged wastewater following heavy rainfall.

Multiple Iowa wastewater treatment plants have reported discharging untreated or partially treated wastewater following days of heavy rainfall.

Discharges can occur from heavy rainfall, power outages or storm damage. According to a press release, since April 1, 2024, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received reports of 131 discharges at wastewater treatment facilities, with 44 of those being reported over a recent five-day period.

Heavy rain can overload wastewater collection systems, which are underground sewer pipes that carry sewage to a treatment plant. Aging or poorly maintained sanitary sewer systems are particularly vulnerable to influxes of stormwater.

DNR staff continue to monitor these situations and will provide assistance to impacted communities. The city advised people to avoid these areas and stay out of flooded and elevated waterways due to safety concerns.

According to a Des Moines press release, the city is experiencing flooding in some areas and advised residents should expect road and trail closures until river levels fall.

Des Moines Public Works and Des Moines Park and Recreation are monitoring river levels closely. As of May 22, 2024, George Flagg Parkway from SW 30th Street to Park Avenue has been closed.

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