Water and Land Fact Sheets
The Iowa Environmental Council compiles and contributes to fact sheets on a variety of subjects related to clean water and land stewardship including agriculture, water pollution and conservation.
Cost of CAFOs
Nitrates in Iowa's waterways can be traced back to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). According to the IDNR, 260 communities face threatening levels of drinking water contamination. Nitrates have been linked to numerous health problems, ranging from flu-like symptoms to cancer, and are costly to remove from drinking water utilities.
Cost of CAFOs
PFAS (Forever Chemicals)
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), otherwise known as “Forever Chemicals,” are synthetic chemicals that can resist heat, grease, and water. They have been linked to numerous health problems including reproductive issues, developmental delays in children, and increased risk of cancer.
The Problem with PFAS
Numeric Nutrient Criteria
IEC has long advocated for the state's adoption of numeric water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus, also known as numeric nutrient criteria (NNC). Clear, numeric standards are important for protecting Iowa's waterways from fertilizer pollution.
Numeric Nutrient Criteria Timeline
What are Numeric Nutrient Criteria?
Economic Value of Water Quality
Iowa's lakes generate significant income for their local communities. IEC compared Storm Lake and West Okoboji Lake to see their local and statewide impacts.
THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF STORM LAKE
THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF WEST OKOBOJI LAKE
Nutrient Pollution in Iowa's Water
Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients for plant growth. Farmers supplement these naturally occurring nutrients in their soils with both chemical and animal fertilizer to increase crop production. When these nutrient levels exceed plant needs, water carries the nitrogen (as nitrate) and phosphorus away, leading to water pollution.
NUTRIENT POLLUTION IN DRINKING WATER
NUTRIENT POLLUTION IN RECREATIONAL WATERS
The Iowa Approach to Water Quality
All Iowans value clean, safe water for drinking and recreation. Our state in the midst of a public health crisis on many fronts and it is past time to address polluted rivers, lakes, wells and groundwater.
KEYS TO A WATERSHED APPROACH
The Effects of Water Quality on Public Health
Pollutants in Iowa’s surface waters and groundwater affect the safety of drinking water and recreational waters. Some of the health effects can be immediate such as exposure to bacteria or cyanotoxins and other health effects, such as increased risk of cancer, are the result of exposure over a longer period of time.
TOXIC BLUE-GREEN ALGAE
NITRATE IN DRINKING WATER
Addressing Agricultural Pollution
Iowa faces numerous clean water challenges, but the state's most widespread, serious and vexing problem is agricultural pollution. The agricultural pollution problem is particularly challenging to solve because it comes from across Iowa's landscape where over 90 percent of the land area is in farms.
Curbing Agricultural Pollution - Lessons from the Clean Water Act
Flooding Costs and Natural Infrastructure Solutions
Natural infrastructure and land-use change can help protect Iowa communities from flooding and improve water quality. Flooding increases water pollution, harms communities, has a deep economic cost and more.
THE TRUE COST OF FLOODING
NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS TO FLOODING