How Funding Helped Iowa Town Transform Its Storm Water Management

Through the state revolving fund loan, Postville, Iowa, received funding to improve its water quality, storm water management and public education 

Those are just a couple adjectives that come to mind when Paul Berland talks about the former Northeast Iowa Resources Conservation and Demonstration parking lot. 

The lot is in a prominent location – a high traffic corner in downtown Postville, Iowa. 

But when the city secured funding for water quality improvements in the community through the state revolving fund, multiple locations were identified for upgrades, including the RC and D site. 

The other locations included general street drainage areas and an existing crushed stone parking lot at a YMCA facility that dealt with a fair amount of runoff during rainfall events.

Through the project, the town was able to add enhanced rain gardens near the downtown area and another in a residential park area. Additionally, permeable pavers were used to restore the YMCA parking lot, which has 20-25 spaces. 

While the YMCA project was more of a maintenance project, the other sites highlight the tax that storm water sewer systems take on over time – specifically, the major project at the Northeast Iowar Resources Conservation and Demonstration site. 

The Northeast Iowa Resources Conservation and Demonstration site, which is about three-quarter acres, now serves as a demonstration site showcasing best management practices. But prior to that, the site, which used to be a lumberyard, was pretty run down. 

“You can kind of envision what that was – just crushed stone all over everywhere, and it didn’t drain well,” Jon Biederman, senior project manager with Fehr Graham, who worked with the city on these projects, said. “They had some drainage issues. The water would get into the building and kind of just pool around on site. They had a parking lot and drive to get to the back of the office building [in the] middle of the site that was rough, didn’t drain well.”