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Registered: ‎12-17-2012

Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working

Below is a Letter to the Editor of the largest paper in Iowa. Seems almost weekly they have articles picking on farmers. This is getting very old and these type of articles are giving the non-farmers in Iowa a very bad opinion of farmers.. Letter is below:



Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working


The Register’s Perry Beeman reported that Des Moines Water Works customers have to pay $7,000 a day to remove excess nitrates from the water taken from the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers [“Nitrates in Rivers Hit Record Levels,” May 11].

Forty-five volunteers participated in a Polk County water quality “snapshot” on May 8. Experienced volunteers were shocked by the high levels on nitrates they found in the streams in Polk County. Over half of the test sites reported nitrate levels of 20 milligrams per liter or more. These are the highest nitrate levels we have seen in the 10 years of sampling hosted by the Izaak Walton League and analyzed by the Des Moines Water Works.

Urban streams had moderate levels of nitrates, while streams that drained farm ground had the highest levels of nitrates. Aquatic life is damaged at 2 mg/l and above. The Des Moines Water Works must reduce nitrate levels to 10 mg/l to make it safe for human consumption.

Farmers can do better at getting nitrogen and phosphorus into their crops and not in our water. The question is, will they do so on a voluntary basis? Obviously, they have not yet seen fit to do so.

— Mike Delaney, Des Moines