One of the state’s top water quality watchers says the state’s list of “impaired” waterways could grow from 150 to more than a thousand in the near future. Jack Riessen is chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Water Quality Bureau.He says the E-P-A is asking states to adopt new standards for some common farm fertilizer chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorus. Riessen says newspaper accounts today call the waterways “polluted,” but he says the term “impaired” is more scientifically accurate.He says the term polluted conjures the image of a river, lake or stream being too dirty to fish or swim in. He says the impaired rivers just don’t meet all state water quality standards. Riessen was asked how the state can prevent the problems from occurring.He says the use of wetlands and buffer strips between waterways and crops may be part of the solution, but he says it’s then a matter of trying to determine where the areas should be placed to be most effective.
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