The water utility says those three counties aren’t proactive enough in preventing agricultural runoff.
According to the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors, the suit will have an impact on all counties whether they have drainage districts or not. They say the counties named in the suit have hired an attorney from Washington, DC who has expertise in the Federal Clean Water Act. The vote to provide the $5000 for the legal defense fund passed on a unanimous vote by the board of supervisors.
Des Moines Water Works says the alleged failure to prevent agricultural runoff is causing an excessive financial burden on the city to remove nitrates from the water supply.
According to the Des Moines Water Work’s petition, in the summer of 2013, fall of 2014 and winter of 2015, nitrate levels in the Raccoon River reached record peaks. Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of Des Moines Water Works, alleges the drainage districts in the three northwest Iowa counties are violating the federal Clean Water Act. Stowe says the system to remove the nitrates costs $7,000 per day to operate.