With a backdrop of the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three county drainage districts for allowing nitrates from farm fields to pollute rivers supplying water to the city of Des Moines, the Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) in Iowa had to admit that some of the highest nitrate levels in Iowa rivers were detected this year.

The alliance released data that showed more than half of 45 water monitoring sites on the Raccoon River showed the highest average nitrate levels in 10 years of data collection, the Des Moines Register’s Donnelle Eller reported. The Boone River also had high nitrate levels in 30 samples, it was noted.

Roger Wolf, the executive director of the ACWA which includes 12 ag retailer members, was quoted as saying, “We acknowledge that water quality across the state needs to improve. … Many factors influence water quality, but weather is a particular driving force.”

As is always the case in the spring of the year, if there is high rainfall, then nitrogen is lost from farm fields, with some of that loss in nitrogen being dependent on what form of nitrogen fertilizer was used and when applied.

To read the whole Des Moines Register news report click here.