Heathcote: Record water pollution in Raccoon reminds us of urgent need for clean water action

Following reports that nitrate levels in the Raccoon River have set a new record this week, reaching more than twice the federal drinking water standard, the Iowa Environmental Council’s water program director, Susan Heathcote, released a short statement.

“Last November, Secretary of Agriculture Northey and other state government leaders released a strategy to reduce Iowa’s nitrogen and phosphorous contributions to the Gulf of Mexico by 45% statewide.”

“The announcement of record nitrogen pollution levels in the Raccoon River is a reminder that nitrogen and phosphorous pollution is also a serious threat to clean water here in Iowa.  It has been for decades.  Despite this, Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy fails to set local nitrogen and phosphorous reduction goals for cleaner water necessary to protect the health and well-being of Iowans.

“Local pollution reduction goals are critical to motivating Iowa farmers and landowners to make the significant changes necessary to ensure clean water.  Iowans should be confident efforts to reduce this pollution will protect those who want clean water for drinking and recreation in Iowa as well as downstream.

“Iowans should call on state government leaders to include local pollution reduction goals, timelines and accountability measures in Iowa’s strategy.”

Previously:  The Council’s executive director, Ralph Rosenberg, outlined our main concerns about Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

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