OSCEOLA, Iowa — City officials in this south central Iowa town have been concerned about the declining water supply at West Lake.
Estimates show the town has about 300 days worth of water to supply homes and businesses in town.
A $44 million dollar plant is almost completed on the town’s southeast side. As the lake level continued to decline, and the new plant was rising up, an idea was hatched.
“We knew that the effluence that we would be releasing in the White Breast Creek was going to be a pretty high quality, at least much higher than what we’ve been accustomed to treating too,” said Ty Wheeler, Osceola city administrator. “It really wasn’t till last six months where in the water supply issue worsened that we thought hey, this is something we need to dig into a little bit more.”
The idea is to use the output of the new plant to refill the lake. As the idea moved forward, they learned that if the treated water would be put back into the lake, that would improve the overall quality of the water.
“We will also be adding up a few more things on the end of the treatment process, just really make sure that we’re polishing that effluent and doing more than what we really need to do before we return it to the watershed,” said Wheeler.
The water is also getting extra attention on the front end of the new waste water treatment plant.
“It’s called the micro-screen and what it does is it replaces our primary clarifiers which is the first stage of the primary cleaning of the wastewater,” said Donnie McCuddin, Osceola wastewater superintendent. “This machine has a screen built in there that we can change to different sizes.”
“We’ve always known that our water supply, we were we’re putting stress on it,” said Wheeler. “This is the lowest West Lake has ever been recorded to the best of our knowledge. I think that the big, big picture is that the community is still working towards the development of a new water supply, a new water supply reservoir for the region.”
The Iowa DNR is also aware of this project, and the agency believes this may be the first of its kind in Iowa.
“The department has received the project initiation proposal from Osceola,” said Tammie Krausman, public information officer for the Iowa DNR. “Staff are reviewing the information and working with the city on this project. All applicable drinking water and wastewater laws for ensuring the process will be safe for the public will apply.”
The new wastewater treatment plant is set to go online starting in January.