A new computerized system that ended up failing is the cause of several wastewater stations in southeast Iowa discharging wastewater, including nearly 460,000 gallons into a creek this past weekend.
The state Department of Natural Resources said Fairfield’s new computerized wastewater system shut down and bypassed the water Sunday into Crow Creek. In addition, two wastewater stations in Keokuk each bypassed 150 gallons Sunday when a fallen tree hit a power line and cut electricity.
Officials advise people and their pets in Fairfield to stay away from the creek area for at least 24 hours. In Keokuk, one of the bypasses reached the Mississippi River but diluted.
A backup system is running the Fairfield facility and a computer expert is running the forensics and investigating the cause behind why the new system shut down.
Officials say rain and snowmelt are overwhelming collection systems and causing similar incidents in other southeast Iowa cities.