A leak in a pipeline leaving the Eldora (IA) Wastewater Treatment Plant allowed wastewater that was treated but not disinfected to flow into the Iowa River recently, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Officials at the wastewater plant need to reroute the wastewater on June 1 to bypass ultraviolet disinfection units and allow soil around the damaged pipe to dry out so repairs can be made.

The treated, but not disinfected, wastewater discharge is expected to be ongoing for several days. The seepage may have elevated E. coli bacteria levels or contain other pathogens.

People should keep children and pets away from the river until 24 to 48 hours after repairs are made. Boaters and tubers should avoid contact with the river below the 14th Avenue bridge on the east side of town. The Iowa DNR will monitor the cleanup and consider appropriate enforcement action.

E. coli also naturally occurs in Iowa rivers. Swimmers and others who play in and around these waters should avoid swallowing the water, wash their hands before eating or drinking and shower after exposure.