OPINION

Health and Wellness: We all want clean water

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health

Everyone wants clean lakes and rivers. Whether for swimming, fishing, or just taking a drive along a lake, it’s important to us that our waterways are sparkling clean. Particularly for Iowans with private wells, clean water isn’t just an extra, but a health issue.

In February 2018, Iowa State University published a study reporting, “Iowa agriculture provides tremendous benefits to the state, national, and global economy. The intense nature of the state’s agricultural activities is not without cost. Agricultural industry is a large contributor to water quality problems both within the state as well as in downstream rivers, streams, and the Gulf of Mexico.” (www.card.iastate.edu/products/publications/texts/water-quality-report.pdf)

While we may feel helpless as individuals to correct the clean water issue, we can protect ourselves and our families from sickness related to impure water. Heed all warnings, such as weekly reports by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which monitors 39 state park beaches for the contaminants microcystin and E.coli (www.iaenvironment.org).

According to the Iowa Environmental Council, 109 Iowa swimming beaches posted unsafe water notices last year, and so far in 2019, 15 beach advisories have been issued.

Dallas County Health Department’s Environmental Health program, 515-993-3750, can answer more questions on this topic.