Letter to the editor: Reader calls on county supervisors to take action on water pollution


To the editor:

This is part of a letter I sent to the Boone County Supervisors:

Early this evening I became aware, through a phone message left by a friend, that our city drinking water, according the Channel 13 news and posted at the Xenia website, has become polluted.

The Xenia site says the Boone County water system, where they get some of their water, is at or over the limits allowed for safe drinking and affecting children. This water comes from the Des Moines River, and the Boone County water system is not able to handle these high levels of nitrates.

Isn’t it the responsibility of the Boone County government to alert us when federal levels are exceeded? Yet the people signed up for the AMG Alerts (a subscription-based, private, mass notification system used to communicate time-sensitive information to members of the Xenia Rural water District) were not alerted so far even at 11 p.m. (Wednesday) night.

This another example of our drinking water being polluted beyond the Federal Clean Water Act standards by nitrates due to field runoff. This is directly related to the fertilizer from CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) sewage. As our County Supervisors, what are you going to do to rectify this horrible situation?

The recent high-nitrate alert for parts of Story, Boone, Hamilton and Polk counties is another wake-up scream about the increasing threats to our drinking water. These places use water from the Des Moines River, where nitrates are steadily increasing each year.

According to the EPA, “The major sources of nitrates in drinking water are runoff from fertilizer use, leakage from septic tanks, sewage and erosion of natural deposits.”

Attributing this recent increase to spring rains, septic tanks and erosion is insulting. Ever increasing applications of toxic hog sewage and commercial fertilizer is the cause.

Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. Unlike the Des Moines Water Works, counties have limited technology and finances to remove them. Therefore, the people depending on safe drinking water will need to purchase bottled water or install expensive home filtration systems.

Will the Nutrient Reduction Strategy Plan pay for this? Will it pay for all the cities and counties who also do not have the systems in place to remove these nitrates? Will we have to wait until some child dies from Blue Baby Syndrome?

Mark Edwards, Boone



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