Coralville sewer break sends more waste into Iowa waters

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Muddy Creek just might get muddier.

A broken sewer line in Coralville has caused an ongoing leak of  of untreated wastewater into the creek, reports the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

[Update – January 1, 2011 1:39 PM– The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that workers in Coralville have temporarily fixed the leak, and wastewater is no longer flowing into Muddy Creek.]

This break, discovered on Thursday, made Coralville the third town in just nine days to send thousands of gallons of wastewater into Iowa’s rivers and streams.  Continue reading

Iowa EnviroLinks – December 31, 2010

Here’s a look at some more environmental headlines from around Iowa and the United States: Continue reading

Garner nets EPA grant for Sewer Upgrades

Photo by Carl Wycoff, licensed for reuse on Flickr

Thanks to a $485,000 grant from the Environmental Projection Agency, the North Central Iowa town of Garner will complete a much-needed upgrade to its sewer system by Spring of 2011, according to an EPA release.

The project includes replacing undersized sanitary sewers and rehabilitating existing manholes. An existing 12-inch sanitary sewer will be replaced with 2,650 feet of new 24-inch sewer pipe.

With a population of about 3,000, Garner is one of hundreds of small communities in Iowa that have outmoded sewer systems or lack a system entirely, according to a 2005 Iowa Policy Project Report.

That prospect poses dangers to Iowa’s environment and public health, leaving some waste to drain into Iowa’s waters.  Continue reading

Water quality improvement, flood mitigation among perks of finished Charles City paving project

Charles City, the North Eastern Iowa town, is working to reduce flooding and improve water quality through permeable pavement and improve water quality.

Charles City is working to reduce future flooding in a big way.

The city just put the finishing touches on a $3.9 million permeable paving project that aims to reduce chances of flooding and improve water quality, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.

Rainwater can now infiltrate the ground through gaps between pavers that are not grouted together, reducing the need for storm structures.

The project, which spans 16 blocks of the city, is the largest of its kind in the state and possibly the nation, according to the report.


Plugged line in New Market sends sewage into river

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

A plugged sewer line in New Market has flushed thousands of gallons of wastewater into into the west fork of the One Hundred and the Two River, the Des Moines Register reports.

New Market officials are working to fix the problem, which the DNR discovered Tuesday morning.

This is the second time in a week that wastewater has flowed directly into Iowa waters. Last Wednesday, a failed pump sent as much as 50,000 gallons of sewage into a tributary of the Des Moines River.

Western Iowa to produce more Wind Energy

A portion of the World's largest windfarm. 259 wind turbines over 200 feet tall located in Cherokee and Buena Vista Counties in Northwestern Iowa. Together they produce 192,750 kW of energy. Photo by Jim Hammer, Wikimedia Commons

Western Iowa will soon get a wind energy boost.

MidAmerican Energy announced today that it will buy 258 turbines for new wind farms in Adair, Adams, Calhoun, Cass and Marshall counties, the Des Moines Register reports.

The turbines will provide electricity to about 1.4 million customers in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota by 2012.

When extremes become the norm: this year in Iowa weather

Thanks partially to climate change, 2010 was the year the earth struck back. Weather watchers all over the world observed a series of extremes: scorching summers, bone-chilling winters, intense flooding and whiteout blizzards.

Iowans observed many of those conditions firsthand. In today’s Cedar Rapids Gazette, State Climatologist Harry Hillaker’s top ten weather stories of the year. Check it out.

Here are some pictures I shot in Iowa City during and after a heavy snowfall in early January. That week, swirling winds made temperatures in the teens feel even colder.

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