DES MOINES, Iowa – A Des Moines Water Works official says nitrate levels in drinking water are too high for this time of year.
The nitrate levels in both the Des Moines and Raccoon River are double what they should be according to Bill Stowe, CEO of Des Moines Water Works. He says the utility company is considering suing the state.
“We are very carefully weighing our legal options because we think the state policy makers have set aside their responsibility to protect us from the pollutants we`re seeing.”
Stowe says the water is safe to drink but in order to keep nitrate levels under control the city is approaching a process that would cost $7,000 a day to get rid of the chemicals in the water.
Stowe says levels this high usually correlate with agricultural run-off during the spring. However, since this has never happened to this magnitude, planning for what can be done next if difficult.
“The systems that use nitrogen should have exhausted far greater levels then what we are seeing now but unfortunately that’s what creates the expense and the risk and the concern that we have in going forward on how we are supposed to deal with heavily polluted waters,” Stowe said.
Stowe says crews continue to monitor the levels on a regular basis and if the water were to become unsafe to drink, Water Works is required to notify the public.