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DNR Program Helps Iowa Communities Monitor Drinking Water for Microcystin

DES MOINES – Iowa public drinking water supplies will have an opportunity to participate in a voluntary microcystin monitoring program.

Microcystin is a compound that can be produced by blue-green algae and can be harmful to people and pets. The program provides funding for testing drinking water samples to participating water supplies that use a surface water (lake, river or reservoir) or groundwater under the influence of surface water as their source of water.

“This is a valuable partnership between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the State Hygienic Laboratory and local water supplies to collect the data needed to understand the potential impact microcystin may have on drinking water,” said Jon Tack, chief of the DNR’s water quality bureau.

Under the program, the DNR will pay for weekly shipping and analysis of raw (prior to any treatment) source water samples and any treated water samples if raw water results indicate such testing is warranted for one year or until the maximum funds allocated for the program ($250,000) have been expended.

If raw water samples have more than 0.3 micrograms per liter, additional monitoring of both the raw and treated drinking water will be completed. If the treated water microcystin results are above 3 micrograms per liter on any two days during a 10-day period or consistently above 0.3 micrograms per liter during a 10-day period, the public will be notified and possible treatment changes will be implemented to mitigate the occurrence. 

The sampling project is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 11.

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