“Forever chemicals” have been detected in Davenport’s and Burlington’s water. These “forever chemicals” or PFAS, also known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl, are known to cause cancers. According to the DNR (Department of Natural Resources), tests detected PFAS in August.
The water, which comes from the Mississippi River, is tested quarterly. In June, there were no findings of PFAS. In the most recent test, “forever chemicals” were present. The source of pollution has not been confirmed. However, 3M which is located upstream, has contaminated sites with these chemicals present.
Burlington and Davenport rely on the Mississippi River for a large amount of their water. Other large cities in Iowa, like West Des Moines, have had PFAS detected in their water. The town was able to reduce the forever chemicals from their water.
Currently, the Kammerer Mobile Home Park and Central City have the largest amounts of “forever chemicals” in their water.
The Quad Cities have been preparing since the National Weather Service reported earlier this year a 95 percent chance of pronounced flooding in the area through May. As of Tuesday, their temporary barriers had been in place for 48 days. This week, their preparations proved insufficient.
Tuesday afternoon, Mississippi River floodwaters suddenly rushed into Davenport when HESCO Barriers — military grade defense boxes used to make temporary walls — succumbed to the force of the water. Officials saw early signs, the Quad City Times and Dispatch-Argus reported, and began urging people in some areas to evacuate when the temporary levees began breaking around 3:30 pm. The HESCO barriers had never been tested in waters above 21.5 feet, but as of 4:30 pm the Mississippi was at 21.87 feet, heading quickly to the expected 22.4 foot crest.
Not everyone received or took seriously the evacuation warnings, and many had to be rescued by boat after the fact. Once the water came rushing in, there was little time to take action. No serious injuries were reported.
The Weather Channel reported that floodwater began to recede Wednesday morning, and that at their peak levels surpassed 6 feet in some areas. A new expected crest of 22.7 feet is expected later today, which could surpass the 22.6 foot record set in 1993.
Scott County officials and Gov. Kim Reynolds are hoping President Trump’s earlier disaster declaration for western Iowa will extend into the Quad Cities area, local media reported.
On April 22, people around the world celebrate Earth Day, spending time cleaning, greening and appreciating the life-giving planet we too often take for granted.
Iowa, of course, will join in on the party. Read below about Earth Day events cities in Iowa will host next week, as well as some activities you can do individually to make a difference.
Des Moines: Festivities in the state capital will begin this weekend. On Friday, Des Moines Parks and Recreation will host an Earth Day Trash Bash, where registered teams will pick up trash around the city. Everyone is welcome to join in on the kick-off party and several other events hosted Friday and Saturday as part of the bash, including a Downtown Earth Day Tour through the science center, botanical garden and riverwalk. A number of other events on Saturday and Monday include wildlife restoration, crafting and stream cleanup.
Cedar Rapids: The city’s 10th annual EcoFest will be on Saturday, April 20. The day’s events include performances, presentations, hands-on activities, tours, awards and more. Last year over 4,000 people attended!
Dubuque: The Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will participate in a nationwide Party for the Planet event Saturday. Visitors attend presentations, meet animals and do hands-on activities to learn about environmental conservation. Participation in the celebration will be included with general admission and free for children 3 and under.
Davenport: Visit the Freight House Farmer’s Market Saturday morning for speakers, demonstrations, music and activities to learn about problems facing the planet and how you can help fight them.
University of Iowa student organizations have been hosting Earth Month events for weeks, and still have more to come. Consider visiting the Student Garden Open House Saturday, April 27 for food and DIY Chia Pets with the UI Gardeners and attending an environmental benefit concert the following night with the UI Environmental Coalition.
If you’d like to celebrate on your own or with friends consider these activities:
Picking up trash in your neighborhood or at a local park
Since 2003, a pair of peregrine falcons have made their home atop the MidAmerican Energy Building in Davenport, Iowa. Together they’ve raised more than a dozen chicks, with four more set to hatch around May 1st of this year.
A live streaming webcam has been installed to overlook the nest, and will be available until about June 10th.
Sept. 24 is a big day for Moving Planet and they are looking to get Iowans involved.
The organization, which advocates for a decrease in fossil fuel use, is hosting events all around Iowa this weekend in support of their cause. Participants all across Iowa will be biking, walking, rollerblading and more in support of reducing emissions.
This week marks the beginning of CGRER’s new radio segment (unsurprisingly) called the Iowa Environmental Focus. Below is the audio and transcript of our first clip. For more information on the segment, check out our “On the Radio” page.
How can we improve science education in Iowa’s schools?
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
As Iowa kids head back to school this fall, we would like to highlight a group of Iowa researchers working to make our classrooms better places to learn.
During the next two years, Cory Forbes, a U of I education professor, is leading a team that will engage 30 Davenport teachers to study how to improve the way science is taught in our schools.
Right now, many American kids are falling behind in science, showing little interest in the material. This project looks to change that by promoting interactive learning.
If more kids get the chance to DO science, kids may decide they like it. And if we see more interest in science here, our kids will better equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to keep Iowa prosperous.
For more information visit us at Iowa Environmental Focus dot O-R-G.
Welcome back to school, everybody. Let’s make this another great year in our local schools.
I’m Jerry Schnoor from the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.