Fort Madison Will Soon Begin Sewer Project

Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison is moving forward with a pilot program that could save the city millions of dollars in sewer improvements.

Overflow from Fort Madison's combined storm-water and sanitary sewer system can reach the Mississippi River during heavy rain.

City Manager Byron Smith says the EPA is giving Fort Madison one year to see if the city can successfully disinfect the overflow. He says the goal is to avoid a complete sewer separation.

The EPA is requiring cities up and down the Mississippi River to address their combined sewer systems. Cities like Keokuk, Ottumwa, and Clinton are contesting the decision while Burlington is moving ahead with construction.

City Manager Byron Smith says the pilot program will cost the city about $1.2-million dollars. He says that involves the construction of a building in Riverview Park to house the disinfection equipment.

Smith says Fort Madison has about a half dozen overflow locations. He says that means the city would need about a half-dozen buildings in the park, which would carry a price tag of around $7-million.

Smith says an 10-year-old estimate puts the price tag for separation at roughly $20-million. That figure could be much higher as Keokuk, for example, is facing a cost of around $60-million.

Bids will soon be accepted for the construction of the pilot project structure in Riverview Park. Construction could get underway in late December or early January.