MUSCATINE, Iowa – After months of delay due to Mississippi River flooding this past Spring, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will begin construction of the City’s second bio-retention cell on Monday, July 22. The bio-cell will be located in Parking Lot 7 (across from City Hall) between Cedar and Sycamore streets. The project is expected to take three weeks to complete depending on the weather.
The project will temporarily displace approximately 50 parking lease holders, but no parking spaces will be permanently removed by the project. The lease holders will be allowed to return to their spaces one the project has been completed.
The first bio-cell was established just off Sycamore Street between Alley #1 and Parking Lot 4 in 2017. The City also established a detention basin (Mulberry Native Habitat Basin) at the intersection of Mulberry Avenue and Baton Rouge Road that operates slightly different than a bio-retention cell.
“These projects provide great opportunities as demonstration sites for urban stormwater treatment,” Brian Stineman, DPW Director, said. “By demonstrating the effectiveness of infiltration practices, such as bio-retention cells and permeable pavement, we hope that these types of stormwater practices can be included into future streetscapes of the community.”
The Third Street Parking Lot cell was designed to address surface stormwater run-off from approximately 1.5 acres of the three acre impervious parking lot that empties, via storm sewer, into the Mississippi River. The cell would replace the existing raised median in the parking lot and install permeable pavers around the existing stormwater inlet.
In cooperation with the Muscatine Pollinator Project and the Muscatine Soil and Water Conservation District, the City applied for and was awarded a cost-share grant from the Water Quality Initiative Urban Conservation Project funded by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).
The bio-cell will channel stormwater through the permeable pavers or into a nine-inch ponding area that will allow the removal of sediment, nitrates, phosphates, and other pollutants from the stormwater before proceeding into the storm sewer. The ponding area will also be home to several native plants that will also aid in the removal of pollutants from the stormwater. Similar plants were used as part of the Mississippi Drive Corridor Reconstruction Project and in the Sycamore Street bio-cell.
The bio-cell will also help alleviate the recurring issues of standing water and flooding of the parking lot and adjacent street.
The City of Muscatine stated in its grant proposal that the City is committed to improving the health of local waterways. The City hopes that bio-retention cells such as these, and other green infrastructure ideas, can be duplicated throughout the city in public and private projects further reducing the nutrient load into the Mississippi River.
The project was designed by Public Works staff according to the guidelines of the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual.