WATER QUALITY: Trend ‘Getting Worse’

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The head of Des Moines Water Works says central Iowa is facing a water crisis and state leaders aren’t doing enough to stop it.

Bill Stowe is responsible for delivering safe water to hundreds of thousands of customers every day.

He says doing his job is getting harder.

Stowe met with neighborhood leaders and community activists Tuesday night to talk about what he calls a water crisis.

Stowe says upstream run off from farm fields and other sources is poisoning our water and state leaders are turning a blind eye to the problem.

Des Moines Water Works has been dealing with dangerously high nitrate levels all summer.

Those rates are now dropping but Stowe says there is no cause for celebration.

“We’ve made it past a really bad bubble here but our main concern is we’re still in an environment where there isn’t much state leadership to regulate point source and non-point source polluters upstream from us to make sure the waters in both the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers are higher quality,” Stowe says.

“Right now, over many years, we’ve seen the trend continue to degrade in our surface waters and that makes our ability to deliver safe drinking water more and more difficult and more and more expensive.”

Water Works has to use a special facility to filter water when nitrate levels are high.

It costs an extra $7,000 per day to activate that facility.


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