Muscatine residents urged to take precautions after non-treated wastewater discharged into Mississippi river

MUSCATINE - People who are out enjoying the Mississippi river should take precautions downstream from Muscatine.

The city releases about 4 million gallons of treated wastewater per day into the river, part of that is now untreated after a gate malfunctioned at the city's water pollution control plant.

"When there was this malfunction with the gate, we had to divert the flow away from the ultraviolet lights until we could get the gate fixed," said Kevin Jenison, Communications Manager, city of Muscatine.

The ultraviolet lights help the disinfection process, if people using the river drink or swallow the water they could get sick.

"The E. coli, which you can get from any type of run off or waste water, from any point along the river," said Jenison.

Warnings also went out to Burlington and Keokuk but city officials there said they don't believe it's a concern for them because the water is at acceptable levels for discharge into the Mississippi River.

"It's actually 98% pure, there`s just a little bit that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources would like to have eliminated," said Jenison.

For the people who will be out spending time in the water, they said they'll be more aware.

"Oh yeah, yeah definitely, I mean we do anyways, but it`s something you think they`d tell everybody, especially it being a holiday weekend a lot more people on the water," said Jol Taylor, boater.

The city said the hope is to have the system back up and running by Friday.