On The Radio – Majority of Iowa waterways exceeded nitrate levels after May rains


Data from the Iowa Water Quality Information System
Data from the Iowa Water Quality Information System
Nick Fetty | May 30, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses high nitrate levels detected in Iowa waterways after heavy precipitation in early May.

Transcript: Majority of Iowa waterways exceeded nitrate levels after May rains

Data from the Iowa Water Quality Information System showed that more than half of Iowa’s waterways being monitored exceeded the nitrate threshold for drinking water after a week of heavy rains in early May.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Weeks of warm spring temperatures followed by consistent rain throughout the state may have contributed to a spike in nitrate in Iowa’s waterways. The nitrate was washed out of fields where it had previously been applied in fertilizers, either as part of the planting process or in the form of anhydrous ammonia in the fall. Nitrate is a pollutant that must be removed at water treatment plants before water can be suitable for drinking, sometimes at great cost to the plants.

For more information about the Iowa Water Quality Information System and a useful tutorial on the program, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

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