Hickok Hall

March

What’s in Your Water? Water Quality in Iowa (and Beyond)

Marty St. Clair, Ben Peterson Professor of Chemistry
March


Marty St. ClairThis Thursday Forum will explore the issue of water quality in Iowa. The forum will begin with a brief introduction to the history of water technology and regulation in the United States, including the Clean Water Act (1972) and Safe Drinking Water Act (1974).  As a primarily agricultural state, Iowa’s most significant water quality issues include excess nutrients and bacteria. We will discuss the impacts of those pollutants on human health and the environment, examine efforts to assess the problem (including our own Coe Water Quality Lab) and review the recent lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works against drainage districts in northwestern Iowa. We will also assess the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Iowa’s plan to reduce the impact of its contribution to the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone.” Finally, we will take a look at headline-grabbing water-quality issues with contaminants such as lead, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”) and viruses, with an eye toward anticipating future developments.