Iowa DNR Urges Iowans to Stay Out of Streams Amid Flooding

Following heavy rainfall throughout Northern Iowa, the DNR encourages Iowans to stay out of streams until the waters recede. Heavy rain has inundated several areas of Iowa and led to multiple wastewater discharges, flooded waterways in northwest Iowa, and park closures across the state.

The DNR Field Office in Spencer was notified early this morning of several wastewater bypasses and animal feeding operation discharges in Lyon, Sioux, Dickinson, O’Brien, Osceola, and Clay counties. Currently, the department is unaware of impacts to municipal drinking water supplies or fish kills. DNR staff will continue to monitor these situations and assist impacted communities.

Heavy rainfall can overload wastewater collection systems and underground sewer pipes carrying sewage to a treatment plant. With sewage pipes overwhelmed, excess water has nowhere to go and can back up into basements through floor drains. Bypassing can lower the water level and alleviate pressure in the collection system, keeping sewage from backing up into basements, which could present health risks.

Due to heavy rainfall, rivers and lakes in Northern Iowa are unsafe for swimming or boating. Fast currents, floating debris, hidden obstacles, and the potential of bacteria make these areas dangerous. Boaters and paddlers should plan ahead as additional areas may become unsafe as flood waters move downstream.