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New test program in Muscatine uses green, slimy plant to clean wastewater

Apr 27, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Muscatine is testing a natural solution to treat some of its wastewater.

The Muscatine Water and Resource Recovery Facility installed a new Rotating Algal Biofilm System this month. It uses algae to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.

"We send that water clean back into the Mississippi River, but it does still contain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus," said WRRF Director Jon Koch. "So the new regulations that are coming down the pike from the EPA to the DNR here in Iowa say that we have to remove those nutrients from the water so that it doesn't go down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it creates what's called the Gulf Hypoxic Zone, which actually takes the oxygen out of the water and kills fish."


There are other ways to remove the nutrients from the water, such as using chemicals, but Koch said that can be more expensive and would require changes to be made to the treatment plant.

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