Iowans should demand clean water, reader says

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To the editor:

For months the Des Moines Waterworks has been removing nitrates from the city’s drinking water at a cost of thousands of dollars each day when the nitrate removal process is in operation.

On June 18 the citizens of Boone and the surrounding area were told not to give the tap water to infants or infirm adults. They were advised to buy bottled water because of the high nitrate level in the tap water. The city of Boone does not have the expensive equipment that Des Moines has to remove the nitrates.

Last month, on May 14, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) added 15 percent more streams and lakes to the number classified as polluted waters (the Iowa DNR uses the word “impaired”). Now there are 725 Iowa lakes and streams on the list. Little is being done to clean up the pollution or stop the sources of pollution.

On June 23 the Perry Water Department announced they would be “changing the chlorine dose that is added to our water from a combined chlorine residual to a free chlorine residual. This may cause an unpleasant taste and odor.”

This means the Perry Water Department will be adding more chlorine to the drinking water to remove the nitrites. This action will also have a cost impact for Perry.

These chemicals, nitrites, are more dangerous than nitrates. Nitrites are formed when ammonia decomposes. The ammonia is coming from Perry’s well water and has been increasing over the last few years. What is the source of the ammonia?

It is hard to prove. Some scientists say it is from agricultural fertilizer that has flowed into the ground water, and some say it naturally occurs.

Please tell our elected officials—Governor Branstead, State Senator Jake Chapman and State Representatives Ralph Watts and Clel Baudler—that the citizens of Iowa want action to clean-up Iowa’s lakes and streams so we can have safe water for drinking and recreation.

You can also give financial support to groups such as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Sierra Club and the Raccoon River Watershed Association. These organizations are working very hard to clean-up Iowa’s water.

Ray Harden, Perry

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