There are many ways Iowans pollute their waterways: manure runoff from livestock feeding operations, underground tiles that drain excess water that often contains fertilizer from farm fields to a nearby river or creek, leaking underground fuel tanks and septic sewage systems.
There is also a threat from many of the more than 1,200 underground municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities. Statewide, much of the underground infrastructure is 50 to 100 years old -- and crumbling.
The cost to replace underground pipes and upgrade treatment facilities can cost communities millions of dollars. But if pollution violations persist, communities can face up to a $10,000 fine from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The Iowa Journal visited Boone and Sheldahl, two communities facing such fines until they moved forward with costly upgrades.
The pollution affects on aquatic life and the humans who recreate in the river will be discussed by Susan Heathcoate, Water Program Director with the Iowa Environmental Council, an advocacy group that works on environmental public policy issues and Wayne Gieselman, Division Administrator of the Environmental Services Division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Kay Henderson, of Radio Iowa, discusses further implications of the Postville raid with host Jeneane Beck.