The Iowa DNR released its long-overdue draft 2018 Impaired Waters list (those not meeting water quality standards) in November of 2019. IEC reviewed the report and submitted official comments to the DNR. We also shared our concerns with members and supporters, especially the alarming statistic that of the 42 new segments of waterways analyzed for the 2018 report, 79% of them were impaired. Although DNR de-listed some waters, it added far more. In fact, the 2018 draft report listed 767 total waterbodies assessed with 1,110 impairments, an increase compared to the 2016 report that listed 750 waterbodies with 1,096 impairments. As DNR continues to monitor around the state, we expect it to find more impairments.
- adopt and use the EPA's recommended level of 8 micrograms/liter for microcystin to issue beach advisories,
- issue Impaired Waters reports in a timely fashion to ensure Iowans are informed with the most-up-to-date data possible (the 2020 Impaired Waters list should have been submitted to EPA two months ago),
- prioritize and better protect recreational lakes used as drinking water sources and make concerted efforts to reduce the number of impaired waters in Iowa.
Many of our comments do not have quick or easy answers, though we are pleased to share that the Iowa DNR announced it would adopt the EPA's recommended advisory threshold for microcystin for the 2020 beach season. We disagree with several of DNR’s responses to our comments about its approach to listing waters using the existing narrative standard that prohibits excess algae in lieu of numeric nutrient standards. IEC continues its watchdog role to protect the public's health and interests to ensure you can enjoy your beaches and waterways safely!