Iowa Environmental Groups Speak Out Against Poor Water Quality

Oct. 26, 2009
Environmental advocates urge state legislators to get tough about regulations

Iowa environmental groups are actively pressing residents of the state to get involved in the fight for water quality and get tough with their state legislators, according to the Des Moines Register.

Iowa’s waterways have been poisoned with almost 3.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals dumped by industrial facilities, according to the report. The resulting issues include bad-smelling rivers, skin reactions and other more serious health hazards as a result of contact with the waterways.

The Des Moines Register also reported that Environment Iowa released a report outlining the state’s top 10 polluted waterways (the Iowa and Des Moines Rivers took top spots). Their report also blamed two Tyson Fresh Meats facilities as major contributors of the toxic releases sent into waterways. Tyson denied any wrongdoing in the Des Moines Register report, and said it follows all regulations.

But Environment Iowa insists that the state and federal government should get tough with its permit process and establish concrete numbers specifying the limits for toxic pollution discharge, according to the Des Moines Register.

In addition, the group said Iowa needs to get tough with its enforcement of the regulations.

"The time is now to make improvements in water quality," Shannan Garretson, water program legal analyst wih the Iowa Environmental Council, said in the Des Moines Register report. "Issuing (federal) permits with the most protective limits is only half the battle. These permits need to be enforced. Dischargers that violate permits need to be held responsible for their pollution."

The Des Moines Register report also noted Garretson saying that only 12 state enforcement actions were taken as a result of 486 permit violations in 2008 from industrial facilities.

Source: Des Moines Register