REPORT: Most Iowa drinking water is safe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

REPORT: Most Iowa drinking water is safe

DES MOINES (KWWL)-- More than 2.6 million Iowans served by public water supplies received safe drinking water in 2009, according to the annual DNR public drinking water program's compliance report. The report was presented to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission on Aug. 17. 

Iowans can view the report online by clicking here.  Any public water supply that had a violation of a health-based standard or of a major monitoring or reporting requirement is listed in the report.

"As people look at the report, they should understand that exceeding the maximum allowed level of contamination just one time for one contaminant causes a public water supply to be out of compliance," said Dennis Alt, supervisor of the DNR's water supply engineering section.

The contaminants found in Iowa which can cause an immediate health risk are coliform bacteria from a fecal source, nitrate, and nitrite. These contaminants may pose a risk to women who are pregnant, elderly, children, or people who have a weakened immune system. In 2009, the number of systems with an acute fecal coliform or E. coli bacteria violation dropped from 2008 levels, with nine systems having a total of 12 violations.

A declining trend in nitrate violations continued as well, with only 14 systems reporting 30 acute nitrate violations in 2009. However, there was slight increase in the number of major monitoring and reporting violations and the number of systems with such violations in 2009. Overall, about 82 percent of systems comply with all major monitoring and reporting requirements.

"Overall, the public water supplies in Iowa are serving safe water," said Alt. "The drinking water industry is very complicated with many requirements. Iowa is fortunate to have dedicated, qualified water treatment and water distribution system operators, and state drinking water staff. We still have room for improvement, and working together, we can improve our compliance rates statewide."

The DNR monitors sampling and reporting of public water systems. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires the State of Iowa to publish an annual report of the status of its drinking water program.

Online Assignment Manager: Jason Mortvedt

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