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

On the Radio: Think Before You Flush

Our latest radio segment highlights the efforts of University of Iowa researchers Gene Parkin and Craig Just, who are developing an affordable and sustainable way to treat wastewater. Listen.

Iowans, do you think before you flush?

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

When you press down on your toilet lever, you probably don’t take the time to think about where your waste goes. You essentially flush it from memory.

But thinking about waste is important. Today, more than 600 communities in Iowa lack adequate sewer or wastewater treatment systems. Some lack a system entirely.

So in some cases, a flush could end up flowing directly into our rivers and streams.

Updating all of Iowa’s wastewater systems to conventional standards would cost more than $1 billion, according to the American Water Works Association.

But Gene Parkin and Craig Just, engineering professors at the University of Iowa, are researching a more sustainable way to treat wastewater at a lower cost to Iowa communities.

They have created a micro-wetlands test site that treats ammonia and other human wastes using plants and nature’s own processes.

This is important research that could soon help small communities across Iowa.

For more information visit Iowa

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank you, and enjoy Iowa’s environment.

Read more about the mini wetlands project.