The Department of Natural Resources would like to give livestock farmers an incentive to clean up Iowa water. The DNR’s holding meetings this week on expanding a loan program already offered to cities to improve their wastewater treatment systems. The loan program was already expanded to include homeowners with septic tanks. Now Jack Riessen in the agency’s Water Quality Bureau says it could help farmers, while not giving a big windfall to giant corporate livestock operations. He says one use could be to help a small feedlot that is likely to face requirements to control its runoff, and larger feedlots would not eligible, he says, because of the wording in federal law. The program could also offer a resource to volunteer groups that want to implement water-protection programs in cities. He says that could be improved construction-site programs to control erosion, or even more frequent street-sweeping so debris isn’t swept into sewers. Riessen says watershed protection isn’t rural versus city, it’s an issue for them both. Riessen says it requires a strategy to control pollution from “non-point” sources. He cites the governor’s call for zero-polluted waters, and says making funding available is just a piece of the overall solution.
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