The No. 1 factor for acute gastrointestinal illness in Kewaunee County’s private drinking water wells is cow manure, according to a federal study released today. The findings raise questions about the effectiveness of existing regulations aimed at protecting residents from tainted drinking water.
Many Iowans may not know what is in their water because their wells’ water quality is unregulated. Moreover, many well owners IowaWatch spoke with during an investigation this past year in counties across southwest Iowa said they largely were unconcerned about their wells, even though tests revealed high levels of nitrates and bacteria in some of their wells.
The Iowa Environmental Council is one of a series of environmental organizations that have joined together in a lawsuit against the EPA. The agency announced eight years ago that nitrogen and phosphorous were the primary agents in the creation of the dead zone.
Iowa is home to two rivers, the Cedar and Iowa rivers, voted as some of America’s most endangered rivers by the American Rivers organization. Over 180,000 people in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area depend upon the Cedar and Iowa rivers for drinking water, according to the organization’s Most Endangered Rivers publication.