Iowa River sees increased bacteria levels near Eldora


The Iowa River via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | June 1, 2022

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is warning that there is an increased level of bacteria in the Iowa River near the north-central city of Eldora.

The DNR said the city has released hundreds of gallons of partially treated wastewater into the river as it works to repair a damaged pipe, according to Iowa Capital Dispatch. The leak was identified on May 31, when an Eldora resident noticed the ground between the river and the wastewater treatment plant was wetter than normal. As the leak in the pipe is being repaired, the Eldora wastewater was switched to another pipe that bypasses an ultraviolet disinfectant system. The system specifically targets and kills harmful bacteria from March to November because it’s when the river is used recreationally.

In recent years, documentation shows the treatment plant discharges between 500,000 and 700,000 gallons per day. The repair to the damaged pipe could take days and residents of Eldora are asked to avoid the area. The DNR is also advising Iowans to avoid the area downstream of Eldora’s 14th Avenue bridge until the pipe is fully repaired, as that’s where the discharge will enter the river.

A fuel leak in Eldora could lead to contaminated groundwater


Excavating
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | February 1, 2022

Last week in Eldora, around 75,000 gallons of gas were leaked, and officials are working to discover if groundwater contamination has occurred.

Environmental specialist for the DNR Carl Beg said that over the weekend at Fast Stop, a gas station that sells diesel and gasoline from tanks underground, soil and concrete were taken in an effort to reach and test the groundwater. If the groundwater is contaminated by the fuel, it can travel and pollute a more significant area. Although the store has an alert system to detect leaks, it did not detect any.

The DNR was notified of a possible leak on Friday morning by AgVantage. An employee of Members1st Credit Union smelled gasoline in the building’s basement. According to an online statement, the business is closed indefinitely.

AgVantage, Farm Supply, an agriculture cooperative, is located on the same side of town as Fast Stop. Because of this, it is in charge of recovering the contaminated soil. It is also possible that it could receive a fine from the DNR.