Jul 5, 2022 - News

City of Grimes fined $9K for wastewater violations

A photo of the city of Grimes water plant.
Grimes will decommission its wastewater treatment plant next year. Screenshot courtesy of the city of Grimes

Nearly two dozen wastewater violations have resulted in a $9,000 fine to the City of Grimes, according to recent documents published by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Why it matters: The city's 1970's treatment plant is inadequate and it's affecting the quality of life for area residents.

State of play: A feasibility study completed for Grimes in 2019 determined the plant needed significant improvements.

  • It recommended the city decommission the plant and connect to the Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA), a regional utility that provides services to 17 other metro governments or sewer districts.
  • Meanwhile, complaints about foul odors and milky-gray water have resulted in DNR warnings for people and pets to stay clear of Little Beaver Creek, which is a tributary to the Des Moines River.

Driving the news: Grimes recently launched construction on a $39 million project to connect to the WRA and officially became a member of the utility on Friday.

  • The sewer connection project is expected to be completed in late 2023.

What they're saying: Grimes city leaders are taking the violations seriously, Alex Pfaltzgraff, the city's development services director, told Axios last week.

  • About $500,000 in recent improvements to the plant will help prevent violations from reoccurring in the time before its closure, Pfaltzgraff said.
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