Thousands of private wells that Iowans use for drinking water are contaminated with unsafe levels of bacteria and nitrates, a study looking at 16 years of data shows.
The Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council blame farmers’ use of fertilizer for the pollution.
Some tests showed nitrate levels in water as much as 100 times the level considered safe for drinking. The report drives home the importance for Iowans to get their wells tested, the groups said.
“The state’s own data show that agricultural pollution of drinking water in Iowa is worse than most people have previously thought,” said Anne Schechinger, Environmental Working Group’s senior economic analyst.
“Wherever Iowans test for these contaminants, they have a pretty good chance of finding them,” said Schechinger, the study’s primary author.