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Posted on: March 7, 2019

Wetland Project Considered for Improving Water Quality

Wetlands area

The City of Sioux Center is considering using grant dollars to create a wetland area that would help improve water quality.

When the city borrowed from the State Revolving Fund to build the new wastewater treatment plant, staff applied for money from a competitive grant program that focuses on stormwater quality improvement projects. Sioux Center was awarded $1.5 million.

“We have two focus areas: urban and rural,” said Utilities Engineer Matt Van Schouwen. “On the urban side we are looking at incorporating water quality improvements in a new detention area we are considering building near the Meadow Creek residential area. On the rural side, we want to improve the water quality running through our east well field.”

To reduce some of the nutrients flowing into the well field area, the city would like to construct a wetland area north of the well field, which would include a permanent pool and nearby overflow areas.

“Micro-organisms in the pool digest the nutrients before the water flows downstream,” Van Schouwen said. “We’re working with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) on this. They’ve done a lot of these in central Iowa, and they’re excited to get one done here. They can look really nice.”

IDALS has identified several dozen different site options that would have a positive impact on water quality. Pending approval of this type of project, IDALS would begin reaching out to land owners about this project to see if they would be interested in being part of a wetland project.

This type of project can potentially help remove 1,500 pounds of nitrogen per acre of wetland per year, according to Greg Sindt, of Bolton & Menk.

“This size of project really could have an impact on ­water quality,” Van Schouwen said.

He noted this type of project could have the added benefit of offsetting stricter requirements in the future on the community’s wastewater treatment plant.

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