Impacts of Nitrogen Fertilizer Use on Escalating Water Treatment Costs
Bill StoweCEO and General Manager
Description of image.Iowas Industrial Agriculture Reality
20,455,666 hogs in Iowa83.5 pounds of manure per head/per day
Drainage Tiling: Increasing Water Quantity while Reducing Water Quality
Iowa Drainage Districts
Hardin County, IowaTragedy of the Commons: Free use of water resource to move waste
Raccoon River January 2016 Nitrate Load
- University of Iowa IIHR - Hydroscience and Engineering
Nitrate (NO3) in WaterEPA Safe Drinking Water Standard: 10 mg/L.Nitrate levels above the standard are a public health risk. Particularly at risk are infants below six months of age who, if left untreated, could become seriously ill or die.Nitrate treatment not addressed through traditional lime softening/filtration system. Side-stream treatment is required.
Number of Days Source Waters Above the 10 mg/L Nitrate Safe Drinking Water Standard
Costs to Water Treatment Facilities At Farm vs. DownstreamDes Moines Denitrification Costs2015 O&M Costs$1,500,000Estimated Cost for Denitrification Facilities Upgrades $80 million
Paid for by ratepayers
$1.50-$22.00 per pound on the farm $15.00-$47.00 per pound at municipal treatment plant NACWA
Iowas Wasted ResourcesBillions of dollars in federal ag subsidies with no greater use of conservation practicesNo tie between federal subsidies and long-term accountabilityFooling Ourselves: Voluntary Programs Fail to Clean Up Dirty Water, Environmental Working Group, February 2016
Solutions for Water Quality ImprovementTreat pollution at the source: in-field or edge-of-field solutions.
Transparent measuring and monitoring of protection of public health NPDES compliance.
Agricultural accountability for environmental protection Resources follow accountability, not vice versa.
Sac County, IowaNo other business besides agriculture can run a pipe without regulation into the waters of the state.
Why is agriculture different?
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