Iowa Advances Community Strategy to Improve Water Quality
Stakeholders from point and non-point source communities collaborated to assess and lessen nutrient loads delivered to Iowa waterways through the Iowa nutrient reduction strategy. Initiated last year, the comprehensive plan helped both communities manage practices in reducing nutrient loads discharged from the state’s wastewater treatment plant, farm fields and urban areas into state waters.
This nutrient reduction strategy has provided a pragmatic approach to improving the state’s water quality through the joint efforts of different communities. Municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities comprised point source communities, while non point source communities included farmers and landowners. Through such partnerships and movements, Iowa has continued its efforts to improve water quality.
Since the strategy’s completion, 21 wastewater facilities have engaged in feasibility studies to assess the amount of nutrients present prior to treatment and the amount discharged after treatment. The rising amount of harmful nutrient compounds such as nitrogen and phosphorous causes the growth of organic matter and algae in surface waters, hence the focus on the issue.
Major improvements were seen in the city of Clinton, where 75 percent of both nitrogen and phosphorus are being removed, and Iowa City, where 72 percent of the nitrogen is being removed. In addition, farmers across Iowa started to implement new practices to help manage nutrient loads and the runoff from their farms.
Furthermore, the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council announced selected watershed demonstration projects, which will receive state funds to support industrial water quality improvement efforts.
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