DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says he and the Water Works are moving past their failed lawsuit and looking to new ways to clean up Iowa waterways and deliver clean drinking water to customers.
Last month a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Water Works had failed against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties. The utility claimed water districts in those three counties were allowing excess nitrates to enter the Raccoon River in violation of federal law. Water customers in Des Moines and surrounding cities were then forced to pay higher rates to clean those nitrates out of the water.
Stowe says Water Works will not appeal the judge's ruling in the case. Instead they will go to a "Plan B" that includes millions of dollars in upgrades to the denitrification facility needed to keep up with the increasing amounts of nitrates in the water flowing in to Water Works.
Republican lawmakers at the statehouse appear to be dropping their plans to pass a bill that would force a reorganization of Water Works' executive board. The bill would've guaranteed that suburbs who buy water from Water Works would have a seat on the board. Stowe says the bill was a Republican "revenge" tactic for his lawsuit.
Stowe says he will continue lobbying legislators to take up measures to clean up Iowa waterways. However he says the current leadership at the statehouse is more concerned with not crossing agricultural groups than they are in clean water.
Stowe says he will leave it up to voters to decide whether or not their legislators are doing enough to clean up Iowa waterways.