- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The FBI has seized computer data connected to a federal investigation into Sioux City’s emitting improperly treated sewage with high levels of harmful bacteria into the Missouri River.

Agents served a search warrant Thursday at the joint city-county Information Technology Department in the Woodbury County Courthouse, according to the Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/2hapP1x).

The wastewater treatment practices have been under state and federal scrutiny since Iowa officials learned last year that two plant supervisors were manipulating chemical levels used to treat sewage. The state Natural Resources Department launched an investigation after receiving a tip that the disinfection system for its wastewater treatment plant was operating in violation of state law and 12 federal permit regulations.

In July 2015, two plant supervisors admitted to dramatically increasing chlorine and another chemical on days that E. coli samples were taken and then turning the levels back down. One of them told state investigators the city saved at least $100,000 in one year when workers added lower amounts of chlorine. Both supervisors were later fired.

State officials have said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking into possible violations of federal environmental laws.

Tony Morfitt, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in northern Iowa, said Monday he could confirm the agents’ presence at the courthouse Thursday but couldn’t comment on what the agents obtained or were seeking.

Attorney Guy Cook, who represents the city in the wastewater matter, told the newspaper the city was cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI. He told The Associated Press on Monday that the city took immediate remedial action after the environmental issues surfaced and said the city is in full compliance with all wastewater regulations.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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