Iowa DNR to test groundwater across state for impurities

The DNR's Environmental Protection Commission met in Moravia to discuss air quality and groundwater testing.

The Iowa DNR's Environmental Protection Commission met at Honey Creek Resort in Moravia Tuesday to hear a proposal to monitor groundwater throughout the state.

Recent testing in Wisconsin has found viruses, herbicides and other compounds in groundwater in public wells, and with 80% of Iowans depending on groundwater for drinking water, officials want to be sure the Hawkeye State doesn't have the same problem.

"We've been working with our partners between the DNR and the U.S. Geological Survey and the State Hygienic Lab at the University of Iowa to put together a sampling program to look at a variety of out public water supply wells - the raw water coming out of those wells, not the finished water people are drinking - to see if these kinds of viruses are present in some of our wells too," said Bob Libra, a geologist with the Iowa DNR.

At Tuesday's meeting, the EPC approved two contracts for groundwater testing, which will allow 66 public groundwater sites across Iowa to be sampled.

"Our next step is we are tentatively planning to do the sample collection in October and November," Libra said. "We're also looking at a possibility of doing it in spring and that's something, now that we have approval, we'll have to finalize and move forward fairly quickly."

Libra said they believe leaking sewer lines are causing the majority of the problems, but it's hard to tell until they test the water. If any of Iowa's public sources don't test clean, then they will develop a solution to get it under control.

The commission also approved two contracts regarding air control, and during the segment allotted for public comments, two Appanoose County residents addressed the group, asking them for their continued support for the county.