IEC submits comments objecting to DNR's intent to withdraw Cedar River TMDL

posted on Monday, November 7, 2022 in Water and Land News

Cedar River at Palisades Kepler parkOn Monday, November 7, the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) submitted comments urging the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) not to follow through on its intent to withdraw the Cedar River TMDL for nitrate.

A TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is a pollution “budget" for an impaired water. The Cedar River TMDL is intended to reduce nitrate in the river, which serves as a source of drinking water for the City of Cedar Rapids. The DNR uses the TMDL to limit nitrogen discharges from so-called point sources, such as factories and wastewater treatment plants, via a permitting system.

Withdrawal of the TMDL would be an unprecedented step by DNR. Although the Cedar River was removed from the Impaired Waters List in 2022, a TMDL is typically left in place for a delisted waterway as a protective measure. There is also evidence that the Cedar River continues to have a nitrate problem and could be relisted in the future.

IEC will continue to engage in this issue as it moves forward and provide relevant updates. 

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