Everyone wants clean lakes and rivers. Whether for swimming, fishing or just taking a drive along a lake, it’s important to us that our waterways are sparkling clean.
Particularly for Iowans with private wells, clean water isn’t just an extra but an important health issue.
In February 2018, Iowa State University published a study reporting that “Iowa agriculture provides tremendous benefits to the state, national and global economy. The intense nature of the state’s agricultural activities is not without cost. Agricultural industry is a large contributor to water quality problems both within the state as well as in downstream rivers, streams and the Gulf of Mexico.”
An April 2019 study, based on Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) data, found that thousands of private wells tested positive for coliform bacteria as well as nitrate, a chemical found in fertilizer and animal manure that is linked to cancer and birth defects.
While we may feel helpless as individuals to correct Iowa’s water pollution problems, we can protect ourselves and our families from sicknesses related to impure water.
Heed all warnings, such as the weekly reports by the Iowa DNR, which monitors 39 state park beaches for the contaminants microcystin and E.coli. These reports are also summarized each week in ThePerryNews.com.
According to the Iowa Environmental Council, 109 Iowa swimming beaches posted unsafe-water notices last year and so far in 2019, some 15 beach advisories have been issued.
For more information on water and health, call the Dallas County Health Department’s Environmental Health program at 515-993-3750.
Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.