The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

July 25, 2013

Slowing erosion could improve water quality

(Continued)

If they're able to improve soil health there, it could act as a demonstration project for homeowners, she said.

"If this practice is adopted by landowners in Ottumwa, then you would see less run-off," she said. "A lot of times, [individual landowners] will fertilize their lawns to have a greener lawn, and those have high levels of nitrogen. So if you have a heavy rainfall event and you have run-off after applying that fertilizer, then those ... nutrients would go into the Des Moines River."

Not only would this project improve water equality and slow run-off, it would reduce future maintenance costs to the city.

"We've got our annual maintenance expense of not only basin and clean out, but between the levees and the bridge ... we have to clean out every few years from the sediment that's moved," Seals said.

The state passed legislation that "basically rebates part of the interest we pay over the [SRF] loan to do water quality projects," he said.

The entire project is estimated to cost more than $480,000.

"The state said if you do these kinds of projects, we'll give you back 1 percent of the interest, but it has to be this type of project," he said. "Now, if we didn't do this project, we would still pay the same amount of interest, so this is just something the state has done in order to fund water quality projects."

If the city is awarded the grant in October, contracting would be finalized by March and the project would be slated for completion by the end of June.

— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to twitter.com/chelsealeedavis.

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