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Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Plant to Get Flood Protection Walls

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--One day after Cedar Rapids asked a state board to spend $15, million dollars on flood walls, the city takes another step in preparing for future floods.

This one, however, is to protect something you probably never think about: the city's sewage treatment plant.

It cleans the city's sewage water and then puts it back into the Cedar River, but five years ago, the plant was overrun by flood waters and all that sewage went straight into the river, untreated

"I think people take for granted sometimes that you have a waste water sewer treatment facility that needs to be operation all the time,” said Mayor Ron Corbett of Cedar Rapids.

Five years ago this month it wasn't in operation.

During the floods of 08, the treatment plant had nearly three stories of flood water inside it

"It affected so many businesses and so many homes that weren't inundated by flood waters but they were affected because this treatment facility was shut down,” said Corbett.

So now the city begins trying to protect one of the most important facilities in Cedar Rapids.

"We'll have an earthen berm and as we continue along the facility we'll also incorporate a concrete steel wall and pump station,” said the city’s utilities communication coordinator Megan Murphy.

The project is funded by various programs and the total cost is about $21 million.

Much of it, 75% comes from FEMA, ten from the state's hazard grant mitigation program and 15% from the city of Cedar Rapids.

The project is about one thing, "and that's all about protecting water pollution control services during the event of future flooding,” said Murphy.

Some of the building for that project begins next week and the city expects it all to be completed by the fall of 2014.
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