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2018 State of Iowa Public Drinking Water Program Annual Compliance Report

Posted By IAMU, Monday, July 8, 2019

Under the 1996 reauthorized Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the State of Iowa is required to publish an annual report of the status of its public drinking water program. The 2018 report is available electronically at the following address:

The report was compiled by the staff of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Water Supply Engineering and Operations Sections, using data collected in 2018 from all active public water supplies in the state. The report contains a summary of the program, a description of the requirements that systems must meet, the year’s violation statistics, and the list of the systems with each health-based standard or major monitoring or reporting violation incurred during the year.  

The photographs in the report are from Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund projects, primarily those that were completed during the year. The maps depict the public water supply system universe in Iowa and the locations of the systems that incurred the health-based standards and major monitoring and reporting violations. The maps are also separately listed on the website.

Iowa had 1,838 active public water supply systems in 2018. Of those systems, 95.2% complied with all health-based drinking water standards, and 82.1% complied with all major monitoring and reporting requirements. There were no waterborne disease outbreaks or deaths attributed to the drinking water at any active public water supply in Iowa during the year.

If you have any questions about the report, please contact Diane Moles, Executive Officer 2, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-725-0281,

Tags:  IDNR  Safe Drinking Water Act 

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Kayla Lyon named first female director of the Iowa DNR

Posted By IAMU, Monday, July 1, 2019

Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Kayla Lyon as the first female director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Lyon will take over as the eighth director of the agency on July 8 and replace Bruce Trautman who has served as acting director since May 2018.

“As my legislative liaison and lead policy advisor on agriculture and natural resources, Kayla oversaw DNR operations including regulatory permitting, conservation efforts, and wildlife issues,” Reynolds said. “She also played an instrumental role in the 2018 comprehensive water quality funding bill. As DNR Director, Kayla will serve a key role in helping our state continue to grow.”

“I am honored to lead the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and appreciate the governor for providing me a new opportunity to serve Iowans,” Lyon said. “In this role, I will continue the DNR’s mission to protect our natural resources, state parks, landscapes, and improve the quality of life in Iowa for generations to come.”

Prior to joining the Governor’s office, Kayla spent her career in government affairs working on agriculture, renewable fuels, water quality, and environmental policy while representing farmers and agribusiness.

Lyon is a native of Decorah and currently lives in Ames with her husband and two daughters.

Tags:  IDNR 

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Manganese Testing during Sanitary Surveys to start July 1

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Manganese is a naturally-occurring element in the earth’s geology and is found in the surface and groundwaters of the state at various concentrations. Elevated levels of manganese have long been considered to be an aesthetic problem in drinking water, causing taste, odor, and staining problems. EPA has had an unenforceable, secondary standard of 0.05 mg/L (parts per million) for many years, below which adverse aesthetic effects are not expected to occur. 

Manganese is an essential nutrient in our diet, and too much or too little both have adverse human health effects. There are newer studies that indicate elevated manganese levels can cause adverse human health effects, so EPA has included manganese in the testing required to determine if national regulation as a primary drinking water standard is needed.

This testing, called the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule #4 (UCMR4), is in its second of three years of national testing. All Iowa public water supply systems serving at least 10,000 people, and a selection of smaller systems, are required to monitor for the contaminants listed in the rule. Manganese is included and must be monitored in the finished drinking water. Once the data is collected and analyzed, EPA will determine whether to regulate any of the listed contaminants as a primary drinking water standard. The data for each specific system required to monitor under UCMR is included in that year’s Consumer Confidence Report, which is available to their customers by July 1st each year.

EPA has developed health advisories for manganese, which includes both acute (immediate) and non-acute (chronic) levels.

  • For bottle-fed infants six months of age and younger, the acute level is 0.3 mg/L, while the acute level for the rest of the population is 1 mg/L, both of which are 10-day advisories. Typically, manganese concentrations in the groundwater are fairly constant, so there isn’t much variation over time.
  • For the entire population, the lifetime health advisory is 0.3 mg/L. 

Health advisories are not enforceable drinking water standards but public notice can be required when levels exceed the health advisory.

For more information on the UCMR, adverse health effects of manganese, and other information, please visit the DNR’s Drinking Water Health Advisories webpage, which includes links to DNR’s Frequently Asked Questions about Manganese in Drinking Water, DNR’s Manganese in Drinking Water Fact Sheet, and other reference material.

In Iowa, the groundwater aquifers are known to contain manganese, with those in the western half of the state testing at higher concentrations in the raw well water monitoring that has been done. Staff in the DNR’s water supply program have been working on developing a response to this emerging contaminant since the UCMR4 testing started, and have been presenting the issues during operator training events. While to-date there have been no samples over the 0.3 mg/L health advisory level in the UCMR4 testing in Iowa, there have been other samples from Iowa PWS that have had elevated manganese levels. Some of these have been in response to colored water complaint investigations. Prior to UCMR4, there has been no required certified lab testing for manganese in finished drinking water, and there is very little data available about Iowa’s systems. 

To obtain more data and get an accurate picture of manganese levels in Iowa’s more than 1,800 public water supply systems, a sampling effort will soon begin.  From July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2022, the DNR inspector will collect a water sample from each source/entry point at each public water supply system during the system’s next sanitary survey.  he source/entry point is a point which is after any treatment and before entering the distribution system, and the sanitary survey is an on-site inspection of the public water supply system that happens at least every three years. For the smallest systems, where certain county sanitarians conduct an annual visit of those systems, the sampling project will start in July 2020.

The sample will be analyzed for manganese through a contract with the State Hygienic Laboratory. Depending upon the analytical result, the system may have no further action, may have additional samples required on a quarterly or annual basis, and, if the health advisory levels are exceeded, will be required to conduct public notification.

On a national basis, 22 states have had systems with manganese levels over 0.3 mg/L in the first 16 months of the UCMR4 testing. 

Tags:  EPA  IDNR  Manganese  Water 

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Updated Main Break and Depressurization Guidance

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, May 28, 2019

From Julie Sievers, Senior Environmental Specialist, DNR Field Office 3 - Spencer

Any time a water system has a main break or depressurization event, there are two goals – to always protect the public health and safety and to restore normal water service. These two goals, in the order listed, must always be the focus. In 2016, the Iowa Main Break Guidance was updated to incorporate the changes from revised American Water Works Association (AWWA) Standard C651-14. 

Recently, EPA Region 7 advised Iowa DNR staff to require acute (immediate) public notice for water systems with manganese levels above 0.3 mg/L (ppm) due to recent health studies. In response, a committee was formed to update the Iowa Main Break Guidance. This committee included representatives from the Iowa Section of AWWA, Iowa Association of Water Agencies, Iowa Rural Water Association, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, and Iowa DNR Water Supply Operations, Water Supply Engineering, and Field Offices. 

Revisions to the Iowa Main Break and Depressurization Guidance were completed earlier this month. The major revisions include the use of bottled water rather than boil water advisories for systems with elevated or unknown manganese levels, and advice for customers to not drink or cook with colored water. This document has been approved and is now being implemented. A copy of it is available on the Iowa DNR Public Notice webpage.  Look for the “Main Break and Depressurization Guidance” section in the lower right side of the webpage.

To be prepared, systems are encouraged to sample for manganese at their Source Entry Point(s) so they know the manganese levels in their system. If the manganese levels are unknown and the system has an incident that necessitates an advisory, the advisory will be a bottled water advisory. Systems with known low levels of manganese (less than 0.22 mg/L), nitrate (less than 7 mg/L as N), and nitrite (less than 0.7 mg/L as N) will issue a boil water advisory. It is very important for operators to know the levels of these three contaminants in their systems when they call the DNR for assistance, especially if they call after hours.

The guidance includes specific information about the four categories of main breaks, guidance about repair of each, when boil or bottled water advisories are recommended or required, and specific information when bacterial sampling is recommended or required following depressurization events. Included in the guidance are templates for a main break log, a communication plan including boil and bottled water advisory templates, and a one-page summary of the procedures for each main break type.

Watch for training opportunities about the guidance and contact your Iowa DNR Field Office with specific questions.

Tags:  AWWA  IDNR  Water 

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City of Pleasantville holds ribbon cutting for State Revolving Water Resource Restoration Sponsored Project

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The City of Pleasantville, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Shadle Park on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 1 p.m. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will celebrate the completion of Pleasantville’s State Revolving Fund Water Resource Restoration Sponsored Project, in conjunction with Soil and Water Conservation Week.  

Speakers for the event include Joe Mrstik, Pleasantville City Administrator, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, Ed Tormey, Acting Division Administrator of Environmental Services Division of the Iowa DNR, and Nate Carhoff and Jordan Stoermer from Snyder & Associates.

Students from the Pleasantville School District will be installing native prairie plants in the bioretention cells as an educational component of the project. The student activity will take place before the ribbon cutting.

“This project is just one example of many projects across the state that allows cities to address and improve water quality measures in their communities,” said Acting DNR Environmental Services Division Administrator Ed Tormey. “The City of Pleasantville has implemented some cutting-edge efforts through this project. This is a great example of how important the SRF program is to our state and the communities.”

“Urban water quality projects allow partners and local stakeholders to work together and take actionable steps that support the Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Naig. “I commend Pleasantville for their commitment to improving Shadle Park.”

Through the Sponsored Project Program, Pleasantville developed a project to address a water quality concern in its community. The project includes permeable pavers, bioretention cells, and soil quality restoration at Shadle Park. These practices collectively capture and treat stormwater from the park before it runs into Shadle Park Pond to prevent nutrients and sediment from entering the water.

The Sponsored Project Program enables communities like Pleasantville to fund a locally-directed, watershed-based, non-point source water quality improvement project. The Sponsored Project Program is implemented through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), a loan program for construction of wastewater improvement projects.

On a typical CWSRF loan, principal is borrowed for the wastewater project and the borrower repays the principal plus interest and fees. On a CWSRF loan with a sponsored project, principal is borrowed for both the wastewater project and the sponsored project. In return the interest rate of the CWSRF loan is reduced so the borrower does not pay any more than they would have for just the wastewater project. Effectively, two water quality projects can be completed for the cost of one.

The Shadle Park project was made possible through partnerships with multiple groups and agencies, including the City of Pleasantville, Snyder & Associates, and the State Revolving Fund, which is jointly administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Finance Authority with technical assistance provided by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. 

Tags:  IDNR  Pleasantville  SRF  Water 

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