PHOTOS: Monticello Dodged Major Disaster; Still Asked To Conserve Water
By Justin Foss, Reporter
MONTICELLO - The sewage treatment plant is shut down in Monticello. Jones County Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard said the plant shut down Saturday evening after taking on water. Early estimates are that it will be down for a week.
“We’re asking people to conserve water and limit what they put down the drain,” said Leonard.
We haven’t heard where the raw sewage is going, but typically cities will bypass the sewage into the nearest river or creek. In Monticello’s case, that river is the Maquoketa.
It’s a little inconvenience considering the people here dodged a major disaster.
“It could have been really bad,” said Leonard.
After the dam failed at Lake Delhi, emergency officials were scrambling to understand the wall of water rushing at them. Many said they had never considered a scenario where the dam would fail.
That dam holds back the Maquoketa River, and it’s been there for 81 years.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver said a surge of debris-filled water was seen rushing downstream from the dam. The Iowa State Patrol sent an airplane to survey the damage and the impending surge. Officials said much of the debris ended up beaching itself on sandbars and in trees along the river.
Culver said the towns downstream were saved by agricultural land, “The ag land, unfortunately a lot of impacted agricultural land helped absorb a lot of the flow coming from Delhi.”
However, people living downstream can;t take too much solace in that. The Lake Delhi dam blocked the Maquoketa River, and it helped control flooding. Now there’s no control.
The dam is privately owned and operated and Culver said figuring out its future is on his to do list, and labeled it a priority, “Absolutely, you’ve got to figure out short term and long term, the options that we have.”
As of Saturday night, the water was still rising in Monticello, however it wasn’t the major flooding so many had feared.
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