116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
LaPorte City has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine for discharging too much E. coli bacteria in treated wastewater going into Wolf Creek, a Cedar River tributary.
The city of 2,500 in Black Hawk County told the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in 2019 it would install an ultraviolet disinfection system by Feb. 1, 2020, to bring levels of bacteria in treated wastewater under legal levels, according to the May 26 consent order signed by DNR and La Porte City officials.
On Jan. 7, 2020, the DNR issued a notice of violation for the city’s noncompliance with installing the new water treatment system.
La Porte still hasn’t installed the system -- meaning water with higher levels of E. coli has been released into Wolf Creek since.
The consent order sets a timeline for system upgrades. Key dates include:
- Dec. 31: Submit to the DNR full plans and specifications for the project
- June 1, 2023: Award a bid for construction and installation
- July 1, 2023: Start construction
- July 1, 2025: Complete construction
- July 31, 2025: Achieve compliance with wastewater permit
The $7,000 penalty, due within 30 days of the city’s signing the order, did not include an additional assessment for gravity -- but could have, the DNR noted.
“The City’s failure to comply with the schedule caused both programmatic and environmental harm,” the consent order states. “However, to ensure these harms are promptly eliminated through the issuance of this order, no penalty is assessed for this factor.”
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