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Cedar Rapids Receives Good News from FEMA as Six Year Flood Anniversary Nears

2nd St East in Cedar Rapids on June 13, 2008
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The picture above still almost brings me to tears, nearly six years later. It was taken June 13, 2008 and the building which houses our studio(s) is at right in the distance (the one with all the windows). Today, the back and forth battle between the City of Cedar Rapids and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has one going in favor of our city. FEMA has decided to partially approve Cedar Rapids’ second appeal for funding for repair of the incinerator at the Water Pollution Control Facility. Cedar Rapids has spent approximately $17 million to complete the incinerator repairs.

Originally, FEMA approved all funding for the repair and eventual replacement of the incinerator. In November, 2011 FEMA reduced the approved funding from $63 million to $8 million. The city appealed the decision the following month and was granted an additional $3.4 million. The following September (2012), Cedar Rapids submitted a second appeal for repair of four specific incinerator components. This Wednesday (May 7), the City of Cedar Rapids received notification from FEMA that funding for the two components that represent the majority of the city’s expenses had been approved.

The release from the City of Cedar Rapids also included the following information on the importance of the incinerator:

The incinerator at the Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Facility (WPC) is an integral component to Cedar Rapids’ wastewater treatment process, providing an effective way to dispose of biosolids throughout the year. As Cedar Rapids treats wastewater, a by-product called biosolids is created. WPC uses billions of microorganisms to remove the organic material in wastewater. Those microorganisms have a natural life cycle and when they die; their cell bodies create a large portion of the biosolids. WPC generates an average of 110 wet tons of biosolids a day. Without an effective disposal method, like incineration, the cost to treat wastewater in Cedar Rapids would increase dramatically.

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