How A Project At A Creek In Davenport Could Help The Gulf Of Mexico

Aug 4, 2017

Duck Creek in Davenport
Credit Amy Kay/City of Davenport

Davenport is now the first urban area in the state to install a bioreactor at its waterfront.

The 4-foot deep filtration system is filled with wood mulch that soaks up harmful nutrients like nitrate and phosphorous found in water runoff from Iowa farmlands. The mulch is made up of bacteria that converts those nutrients into nitrogen gas. 

Davenport's Clean Water Manager, Amy Kay, says it's part of a larger effort to reduce a record size "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.  

"These nutrients coming off of our land end up down in Louisiana and deplete the oxygen [from the water], so there's none available for plant life and aquatic life. It will take all of the states in this watershed working together implementing these types of practices on a much larger scale."

The project comes the same week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest it's ever been -- at about the size of the state of New Jersey.

The filtration system is being installed at Duck Creek this month to filter water runoff from an 11-acre watershed area. 

Officials will test nutrient levels in the water before and after its filtered for the next year.