The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 20, 2014

Wastewater main fixed

By Brenden West Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — A potential threat to wildlife safety was avoided Tuesday as city crews worked into the evening to fix a wastewater force main break.

The break, announced by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources via a press release Wednesday, occurred in the 1800 block of Roosevelt Street in Clinton, leaking some contents into the nearby Mississippi River. The DNR was contacted and informed that 50,000 gallons of raw domestic wastewater needed to be bypassed.

However, Clinton’s wastewater department initiated immediate cleanup of the break, patching the broken pipe. DNR media contact Dave Perry said these types of breaks are commonplace around this time of the year.

“With the freeze and thawing this time of year these kinds of things happen,” Perry said Wednesday afternoon. “Usually it happens in a weak place or joint in the pipe. We really see this happen with the water distribution lines.

“Whenever you have a force main and pumping water on and off, there’s a certain amount of vibration that occurs (weakening joints).”

He added he was pleased with the city’s quick response to the potential threat.

“We have such wonderful working relationships with all of our cities. They pretty much know what needs to be done,” Perry said.

The situation will require minimal DNR follow up. The wastewater department recovered and hauled 4,500 gallons of wastewater to its treatment facility. Since the materials were not released into public areas, any remaining wastewater will safely dilute in the Mississippi River.

Although no threat was imminent, the DNR responds to these types of incidents to ensure precautionary measures, Perry said.

“As a department we’re charged to protect public health,” he added. “Anytime you have raw waste discharged into the public it’s a potential threat to public health.”

The break was discovered at approximately 5:45 p.m. Tuesday night. Cleanup was complete by 9:30 p.m. the same day.