City discovers untreated wastewater discharging directly into creek

Undetected discharge might have been leaking for years, city says


MOUNT PLEASANT — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was informed Wednesday by the city of Mount Pleasant in Henry County of an ongoing wastewater discharge into a tributary of the Skunk River.

City crews discovered untreated wastewater entering a storm sewer while repairing a water line. The DNR estimated about four to five gallons per minute of wastewater was flowing through the storm sewer to Saunders Branch creek, which empties into the Skunk River in this southeast Iowa town of 8,600.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the DNR recommended keeping children and pets away from the creek, especially in Saunders Park, until the city replaces a pipe section to stop the discharge on Thursday. The Saunders Branch also flows through Big Creek County Park in Mount Pleasant.

The city is not sure when the discharge began, the DNR statement said. The discharge of untreated wastewater directly into the creek might be related to construction activity over the last few years.

The DNR said it will monitor the repair work.

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    • Yes, John. I agree the headline is misleading, but this kind of thing could easily happen to our own watershed as well. Besides, I’m from that part of the state and was torn between moving to Mount Pleasant, Fairfield or back here to Perry back in 1986. I am still quite taken with Henry County, and I’m unhappy about this news.


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