Jan 11, 2011

Iowa Lists Record Numbers of Polluted Waterways in 2010

State is currently drafting rules to regulate sewage discharge and agricultural runoff

The 2010 draft number of polluted Iowa waterways has increased to at least 572, an increase of about 6% from the 2008 number of 542, the highest number of polluted waters since the state began keeping records 14 years ago, Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) water quality expert John Olson confirmed.

The DNR will present the 2010 draft results to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) at its monthly meeting on Jan. 18.

Iowa Citizens for Community Involvement members say that the new findings put pressure on Governor-elect Terry Branstad to back away from his campaign pledge to de-regulate the factory farm industry and to instead use the full power of his office to stand up for clean water with stronger environmental laws and rules, and tougher fines and penalties for violators.

The DNR is currently in the process of writing rules to bring Iowa into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, but the draft rules have been criticized by some environmental groups for being too weak to adequately protect and preserve Iowa’s water quality.

The DNR held a public hearing on the draft Clean Water Act rules Jan. 11 in Des Moines.