Keokuk Needs Boat For Sewer Project

Keokuk, IA – A motor boat could be a key tool in Keokuk's attempt to reduce the scope of a mandated sewer project that could cost more than $60-million.

The Environmental Protection Agency has told the city that it must separate its combined sanitary/storm-water sewer system. Keokuk is one of about a half dozen communities to receive the mandate.

Mayor Dave Gudgel says the city is joining with Ottumwa, IA and Clinton, IA to fight the EPA's decision. He says the cities do not believe their sewer systems are impacting nearby rivers as much as the agency believes they are.

Gudgel says Keokuk will try to prove its point by collecting samples of river water during each rain of 1/2" or more. He says the EPA wants three years of data before it considers reducing the scope of Keokuk's project.

The city does not have the boat, though, that it needs to collect the samples. Public Works Director Gerald Moughler says a 22' 6" boat with two motors could be purchased for about $20,000.

The Keokuk City Council has authorized city staff to explore the acquisition of a boat. A price break-down was not available as to whether it would be less expensive to purchase a boat or hire experts to do the testing in their own boat.

Fort Madison, IA and Burlington, IA must also address their sewer systems.