Eleanor Hildebrandt | April 20, 2022
An Ottumwa company released thousands of gallons of wastewater into a rural area that led directly to underground tile lines that fed into a creek leading to the Des Moines River. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources fined the company $5,500 for the discharge.
The initial report to the DNR was made in July 2021 and the fluids were traced back to Ecosystems, Inc., in Ottumwa. According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, 48,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater from Osceola was hauled to the area in semitrailer truckloads. While it is unclear how many gallons were released on the property, the wastewater went into South Avery Creek. The creek flows to the Des Moines River, which is a drinking water cite for more than 25,000 Iowans in Ottumwa.
The DNR’s investigation showed there was no known effect on the drinking water and there was no fish kill caused by the wastewater. The discharge was diluted by several inches of rain that fell before it was dumped. Such dumping is in violation with Iowa law and the company agreed to pay the fine.