Iowa Water Pollution

For the project 5, I have been researching about the water problem in Iowa for a week with some reference articles that I found. One is a short research article, Iowa Water Pollution, that was published in 1998 by Iowa State University, and another one is short paper, Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrates in Agricultural Drainage, that was written by Laura Christianson in 2011. I also got some information from the website, Clean Water Iowa <http://www.cleanwateriowa.org>.

According to the my research, Iowa State has water quality problems, although people thinks the water of Iowa in enough clean to drink.

Most people felt Iowa had clean, unpolluted water. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, the general public found that some of Iowa’s water sources were, in fact, polluted. In some areas, the water was unsafe to drink due to high nitrate, pesticide, and bacterial levels. (Iowa Water Pollution 1).

So, now, I’d like to talk about two facts of water pollution in Iowa, Erosion and Nitrate.

1. Erosion
“In Iowa, the number one source of surface water pollution by volume is soil erosion.” (Iowa Water Pollution 6). They explained lots of way to solve this problem, but I just want to focus on the “Terraces” at this time.

Terraces: For very steep hillsides, terraces my be required. Terraces are constructed by planting a short slope with grass or other cover crops and then planting the lever area with crops. This pattern of short slopes and planting area follows the hillside. This practice breaks up the steep hill into a series of shorter slopes and level areas and slows down the water flow. Since the terraces are planted in grass, they hold the slope in place and reduce erosion. terracing provides good protection for steeper slopes, especially if combined with low-till or no till farming. (Iowa Water Pollution 16)

Figure1. Terraces (Iowa Water Pollution 16)
Figure1. Terraces (Iowa Water Pollution 16)
Figure2. Draft sketch of Sculpture for representing Terrace
Figure2. Draft sketch of Sculpture for representing Terrace

2. Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrate.
“Woodchip bioreactors are a new option to reduce the amount of nitrate in drainage before it gets local surface water.” (Laura Christianson and Matthew Helmers 1)

“Subsurface agricultural drainage can allow large gains in agricultural productivity in the midwestern United States. There is, however, concern about the pollutants moving through these systems. One specific water quality concern is nitrate, a form of nitrogen that moves readily through the soil and often can be present in high amounts in clear drainage waters.” (Laura Christianson and Matthew Helmers 1)

Figure 3. Descriptive illustration of a woodchip bioreactor (image by John Petersen www.petersenart.com, Laura Christianson and Matthew Helmers 1)
Figure 3. Descriptive illustration of a woodchip bioreactor (image by John Petersen www.petersenart.com, Laura Christianson and Matthew Helmers 1)

Reference

  • Iowa State University. Iowa Water Pollution. Ames: Iowa extension service, 1998. Print.
  • Laura, Matthew Helmers. Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrate in Agricultural Drainage. Ames: Iowa extension service, 2010. Print.
  • Clean Water Iowa. Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015