Welcome to SourceWaterCollaborative.org, a web forum about where America’s safe drinking water begins – the lakes, streams, rivers and aquifers we tap for public water systems. We are a web portal of the Source Water Collaborative, 25 national organizations united to protect America’s sources of drinking water.
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Posted on: May 20, 2013
Abstracts are now being accepted for The Groundwater Foundation’s 2013 National Conference being held October 15-17, 2013 in Howey-in-the-Hills (Orlando), Florida. The abstract submission deadline is June 14th. Presenters will be selected and notified in early July.
Details about the conference are available here. Please consider sharing this information with others who may wish to present or exhibit.
Presentation formats include 25-minute classroom presentations, plenary speakers, field trip presentations, workshops and poster sessions. Presentation topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Community involvement/participation in water issues
- Climate change and extreme weather’s impacts on groundwater (i.e. drought, floods, etc.
- Population growth/urban sprawl impact
- Public education – challenges and solutions
- Groundwater sustainability strategies (management strategies)
- Social, economic, and environmental interactions
- Funding for groundwater sustainability
- Conjunctive use (engineered solutions, planned or artificial)
- Challenges/solutions to sustainable groundwater management
- Emerging issues (i.e. fracking, nanotechnology, flood capture and recharge, energy/water nexus, carbon sequestration, etc.)
- Wellhead protection’s role in groundwater sustainability
- Groundwater/surface water interactions
- Agriculture and water quality
Posted on: May 15, 2013
You are invited to join state, Federal, and local water professionals who will gather at ASDWA’s 28th Annual Conference to tackle the many challenges facing the water community. By contributing your knowledge and vision to the conference’s program you can help ASDWA achieve their goal of protecting public health as they face an array of 21st century challenges. ASDWA solicits both oral presentations and exhibitors of products and services that are invaluable in helping us achieve our collective goals. Deadline for abstracts is June 14th and the deadline for exhibitor applications is August 30th. Click here for detailed information.
ASDWA is the professional Association supporting state drinking water programs in their efforts to protect public health and implement the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Their members are the 50 states, territories, the Navajo Nation, and the District of Columbia.
Posted on: May 14, 2013
Click to download online article: From the Des Moines Register – Online
Des Moines Water Works turned on the world’s largest nitrate-removal facility Friday for the first time since 2007 after levels of health-threatening nitrates hit records in both the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, two main drinking-water sources.
Bill Stowe, the utility’s general manager, said the process will keep nitrates at safe levels in tap water, but he is concerned about the rising costs and difficulty of treating water as nitrate levels climb.
The $4 million nitrate-removal plant, installed in 1992, costs about $7,000 a day to run. So far, the utility is using four of the eight treatment cells where nitrates are stripped from the water. The Environmental Protection Agency had ordered Des Moines to act to remove nitrates after the contaminant exceeded the federal limit in tap water during the early 1990s.
The predicament shows that voluntary conservation efforts on farms aren’t working and do not bode well for the future of the area’s water supply, Stowe said. He added that nitrates, which also occur naturally, primarily come from crop fertilizer. Better field drainage systems have worsened the situation.
Typically, when nitrates rise in the Raccoon River, the Des Moines River remains well within drinking standards. The utility then dilutes the pollution from the Raccoon water with that drawn from the Des Moines.
This time, they are both at record highs — a troubling oddity, Stowe said.
”We are off our playing field,” he said. “We haven’t seen this before.”
Untreated high levels of nitrates in drinking water have been linked to blue baby syndrome, as well as to various cancers and miscarriages. The federal limit is 10 milligrams per liter nitrate in drinking water; both rivers have posted readings in the range of 20 milligrams per liter.
The Raccoon River hit 24 milligrams per liter this week; the previous record was 22. The Des Moines was just under 18; the record was 14.2.
Stowe said some U.S. Geological Survey gauges couldn’t measure the concentrations because they exceeded the meter’s range.
With decades’ worth of data suggesting nitrates are rising in Midwestern rivers, Stowe hopes the situation doesn’t worsen.
Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said the fact that Water Works didn’t need the removal system for the past six years shows that nitrates have been at manageable levels. He added that nitrates left over from last year, when a smaller than usual corn crop didn’t use as much nitrogen, and the record April rains could have caused a temporary spike.
Northey said strategy now focuses more on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels than past efforts, which were targeted mostly on soil conservation.
Laurie Johns, spokeswoman for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, said regulations wouldn’t work because farm conditions vary and are best addressed by farmers’ voluntary efforts. No regulation can control record rain, she added.
”With such wild weather swings and 95 percent of Iowa’s land comprised of farmland, there’s not one regulation that would have prevented the current spike in nitrates, short of outlawing crop production in Iowa,” Johns said.
Deborah Neustadt, chairwoman of the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club, said farmers should be required to have nutrient-management plans featuring specific practices meant to curb runoff. That way, they could be held accountable for pollution from their operations.
“Why does the rate-payer have to pay for actions of farmers?” Neustadt asked.
Susan Heathcote, water program director of the Iowa Environmental Council, took a similar view. “Local pollution-reduction goals are critical to motivating Iowa farmers and landowners to make the significant changes necessary to ensure clean water,” she said.