Iowa Environmental Council seeks action on Cedar Rapids Sewage Plant

The Iowa Environmental Council is concerned that a newly proposed wastewater discharge permit for the Cedar Rapids sewage plant does not adequately restrict mercury and ammonia levels in the waters.

It requests that Iowans with similar reservations share them with the DNR by writing a letter.

Here is a more detailed summary of the council’s concerns:

1. The Cedar River, at Palisades Kepler State Park and 2.3 miles downstream of the Cedar Rapids wastewater discharge, is listed as an impaired state water due to declining mussel populations. Ammonia is highly toxic to mussels. Yet, the proposed permitted ammonia limits are higher than allowed in the current permit and range from 3-13 times greater than what draft EPA guidance suggests to prevent harm to mussels.

2. The newly proposed mercury limits in the permit are above the water quality standard for a stream where fish are routinely caught for human consumption. Mercury is a toxin that can accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish. Elevated levels of mercury have been found in several species of fish near or below the Cedar Rapids Sewage Treatment Plant wastewater discharge.

Iowans who eschew indirect communication can speak at a public hearing on the permit at 7:00 p.m. on December 14.

For more information, check the council’s website.

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