Drought Worsens In West Central Iowa
(Des Moines) — The new report from the U-S Drought Monitor shows more counties now showing dry conditions. The Iowa D-N-R’s Tim Hall says the negative outweighs the positive in the report.
He says the driest area continues to be in western Iowa.
Hall says the dry conditions have started to spread to the east.
Hall says the impact of the dry areas can also be seen in satellite images of the crops.
He says the good news for the western areas that are dry is the impact right now isn’t hitting water supplies.
Hall says the precipitation deficit is a concern because we are soon going to be heading out of the wettest months of the year, and could be behind in groundwater going into the winter.
Study Shows Small Rural Communities Have More Nitrates In Water
(Des Moines) — A study of drinking water systems shows communities in Iowa and four other Midwestern states have legal but potentially worrying levels of nitrates. The Environmental Working Group found nitrate levels in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma are trending up. Report author Anne
Schechinger (SHECK-in-ger) says spikes can occur after heavy rains and she found nitrate problems are more frequent in smaller communities.
Schechinger says proximity to farm fields is also a factor. The report analyzed water data from ten states and praised Hastings, Nebraska, for building a system that removes nitrates before they enter the drinking water supply. Hastings’ environmental director Marty Stange (STANG-ee) says the innovative system is working well.
Stange says preventing nitrates from getting to the water is far cheaper than building a system to remove the pollutant once it’s there. Elevated nitrate levels can cause blue baby syndrome and more recently have been associated with upticks in colorectal cancer and certain birth defects.
Iowa DNR Recommends “No Swimming” At Some Beaches
(Des Moines)-– The beaches at one state recreation area and seven state parks currently have “swimming not recommended” advisories from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. D-N-R environmental specialist Daniel Kendall says that’s about typical for this time of the year, and down one beach from last week.
All of the recommendations are based on the presence of a particular E-coli bacteria, which Kendall says doesn’t directly make people sick. But it can be an indicator of the presence of other harmful pathogens.
Kendall says rain often flushes the pathogens into beaches so it’s also a good idea to wait a few days after rainfall before swimming.
Beaches with DNR “Swimming Not Recommended” Advisories include:
Emerson Bay State Recreation Area
McItosh Woods State Park
George Wyth Memorial State Park
Denison Beach at Black Hawk State Park
Backbone State Park
Lake Darling State Park
Lake Keomah State Park
Nine Eagles State Park