Nitrate Removal Costs Could Top 300-Million Over the Next 5 Years

by Brian Wilson
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The Iowa Environmental Council has found Iowans will pay 333 million dollars over the next five years to remove nitrates from drinking water supplies if nitrogen pollution rates don’t change. Alicia Vasto is the water program director for the Iowa Environmental Council. The group has reviewed data from the state agency that issues permits for construction and operation of livestock confinements.

Vasto says the costs are eye-popping and include treatment for life-threatening health conditions.

A Stanford University study found the risk of premature births doubled among women whose drinking water contained nitrates. The Iowa Environmental Council’s report concludes every Iowan is paying direct or indirect costs associated with nitrates.

According to the U-S Environmental Protection Agency, more than 250 new livestock confinements were built in Iowa in 2022. The Iowa Environmental Council cites state records which indicate there are more than nine-thousand a animal feeding operations in Iowa of various sizes.

Vasto notes that every state agency is reviewing all state rules and regulations and that includes the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which oversees confined animal feeding operations.

It costs a lot to remove nitrates from drinking water. It costs the Des Moines Water Works 10-thousand dollars a day to operate its nitrate removal facility when nitrate levels are high.

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