Meanwhile, although built above the 100-year floodplain, the wastewater treatment plant was inundated with water, leaving the electrical and other components inoperable but the structure intact. The initial drinking-water crisis gave city workers somewhat of a break because water usage was significantly curtailed, reducing the volume of untreated wastewater discharged into the river by about 60%. (Under normal conditions, fewer than 40 million gallons are treated daily.)
After the main lift station was repaired, trash pumps were deployed to prevent sewer backups into flooded houses. Within four weeks of the flooding, primary treatment was on line. The first stage of secondary treatment — removal of microscopic contamination — was in service by the end of July. The chlorination/dechlorination disinfection processes were anticipated to be back on line by late September.
“It will take some time, but we will rebuild to be stronger and more sustainable than before the flood,” Fagan says, pointing out that there were no flood-related deaths. “We're not just quickly building to close the gaps for the next two to three years. We're rebuilding for future generations.”
— Rick Zettler is a resident of Cedar Rapids and president of Z-Comm, a company specializing in construction and aggregate equipment marketing, public relations and freelance writing.Web Extra
To learn how Cedar Rapids is paying its rebuilding expenses, visit the “article links” page under “resources” at www.pwmag.com.