Report Says Iowa Needs More Water Testing For Harmful Organism

Statewide Iowa — A study from the Environmental Working Group says Iowa needs to monitor more bodies of water for a toxin that’s produced by a microscopic organism called blue-green algae.

The report says Iowa does routine weekly monitoring for microcystins on state park beaches, but it’s missing other locations like lakes, ponds and reservoirs. E-W-G’s Anne Schechinger says the state should do more monitoring to keep people from getting sick as the microcystins can cause cancer or liver failure, among other things.

A water quality supervisor with the Iowa D-N-R says the state tests for microcystins in lakes too, but it’s a fairly new program. The state tests about 130 lakes up to three times a year. Schechinger says it’s a step in the right direction, but wants to see more frequent testing, while ponds and reservoirs should be included too.

Schechinger says Iowa tests for microcystins more often than Minnesota and Wisconsin, which don’t test every year.

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