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    Food & Water Watch and Iowa CCI Call for EPA Intervention in Iowa’s Water Pollution Crisis

    03.24.21

    For Immediate Release

    Des Moines, IA — As environmentalists celebrated World Water Day this week, groups in Iowa took a different approach. Food & Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) are calling on the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in as continued legislative inaction on factory farm moratorium bills has left Iowans without legal protections to deal with the converging factory farm and water pollution crises in the state.

    Animals confined in factory farms across Iowa are the leading cause of water pollution in the state. Industrial agriculture’s unchecked expansion has resulted in exploding numbers of factory farm operations — the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates that an average of 500 factory farms are added to the state each year. At the same time, Iowa’s residents struggle with contaminated drinking water and rivers and streams that are unsafe for recreation.

    40% of private wells in the state were found to be contaminated with unsafe levels of bacteria, and over 200 of Iowa’s community water systems struggle to provide clean drinking water due to high nitrate levels. Given legislative inaction on bills to curb the development of factory farms known to drive this pollution, Food & Water Watch and Iowa CCI  call on the EPA for national intervention.

    “For years, Iowa’s legislature has ignored the water pollution crisis we find ourselves in,” said Food & Water Watch Iowa Organizer Emma Schmit. “More interested in courting industry campaign donations than keeping our drinking water safe, our politicians have failed to use their power this session to curb factory farm expansion. We call on the EPA to act in their stead, and ramp up their inspections and enforcement efforts in our state.”

    “Pollution from factory farms is impacting all Iowans — rural and urban, young and old, across race, gender and income status,” said Iowa CCI Organizer Abigail Landhuis. “It’s obvious that Governor Reynolds’ DNR is not interested in addressing our water crisis with urgency. We need the EPA to step in to take action and reduce the harms factory farms have on Iowa’s waterways.”  

    The two groups are also pursuing a legal remedy for the factory farm and water pollution crises in Iowa. Food & Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the State of Iowa for failing to protect the public use of the Raccoon River, elevating the river as a case study of the water pollution rampant throughout the state’s waterways. The case is currently with the Iowa Supreme Court.

    Canton Breaks Ground On $70M Water Pollution Control Plant

    CANTON, GA — The City of Canton broke ground Friday on the construction of a $70 million water pollution control plant expansion—the largest capital improvement project undertaken in the city’s history. Representatives from the project’s contractors, Clark Construction Group and joint venture partner Reeves Young, joined Canton officials for the ceremonial gold shovel groundbreaking, with special words from the Canton’s Mayor Bill Grant.

    “After many years of planning and careful review, the City of Canton is extremely excited to begin work on our new water pollution control plant,” Grant said. “As the single largest municipal project in our city’s history, this investment will ensure many more years of sustainable, high quality growth in Canton, and the initiative meets a big goal in our ‘Roadmap for Success’ tenet of ‘Improving Infrastructure for Future Demand.’

    “Even more exciting, is the fact the $70 million project will be fully funded by our water and sewer fund revenues, and the city’s excellent credit ratings will result in millions of dollars in interest savings over the term of the project.”

    Under their contract with the city, the Clark Reeves Young team will upgrade Canton’s primary wastewater treatment plant, increasing the plant’s capacity by 50 percent to handle six million gallons per day. The new facility also elevates the water treatment system to a higher standard of regulatory compliance with the installation of a membrane filtration system and upgrades to the solids handling process.

    The joint venture team will perform all site work, site utilities, and a range of mechanical processes. As part of their scope of work, Clark Reeves Young will install additional grit removal equipment in the existing headworks and construct a new control building, laboratory, tertiary treatment system, and a new solids handling facility with aerobic digesters and a sludge dewatering building.

    Clark brings over 40 years of water/wastewater experience and has completed more than $1.1 billion worth of work in the last decade across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. Atlanta-based Reeves Young has served the region for nearly 70 years and brings strong relationships with local trade partners in the heavy civil, water resources, commercial, and industrial markets.

    Project completion is slated for 2024.

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