Wastewater, manure release reports pouring in to DNR

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Flooded Little Sioux River at Grand Avenue Bridge in Spencer on May 29, 2019.

The Little Sioux River far exceeded its banks at the Grand Avenue bridge in Spencer as of May 29, 2019.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has received multiple wastewater and manure release reports due to recent heavy rainfall and flash flooding.

In a press release, the department asked that people stay out of streams until after flood waters recede due to several dangers the high waters pose to the public, including fast currents, debris and bacteria.

“For their own safety, we encourage people to stay out of the water until several days after streams return to normal,” Scott Wilson of the Iowa DNR’s Spencer field office stated in the release.

Wilson stated there had been 70 wastewater discharges reported over the Memorial Day weekend “and the calls are still coming in.”

He stated some cities had reported wastewater discharges and that two cities have reported storm water backups in basements.

Wilson told the Signal in a phone interview that Everly and Royal were among cities that had reported discharges. There were two reports from Dickinson County, as well.

The DNR expects more discharges to occur as more rain is predicted to fall.

Large amounts of rain ranging form two to four or more inches have also affected livestock facilities, especially in northwest Iowa.

“Most of the feedlot issues that I’m aware of were over in the Sioux and Lyon areas, but really it’s been everywhere,” Wilson said.

In the press release, Wilson stated the runoff problem isn’t yet severe for the majority of the facilities that have reported.

“Most of these facilities are OK, but we are working with a few to stop runoff,” he stated.

Facilities experiencing or expecting discharges are encouraged to contact their local DNR field office. They can also call the DRN emergency spill line at 515-725-8694 after hours.

“We’ll work with them to identify solutions and minimize impacts to nearby streams,” Wilson stated.

DNR spill reporting requirements can be found online.

For the general public, the Iowa DNR and Iowa Department of Health have information for handling disasters and flood cleanup.

Feature image: The Little Sioux River far exceeded its banks at the Grand Avenue bridge in Spencer as of May 29, 2019.

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