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Over seventy-five percent of Iowans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Assessments of Iowa’s groundwater quality and quantity are necessary to address public health concerns, help communities, industries, individuals, and ecosystems meet their water needs, and ensure the sustainability of this resource. Groundwater monitoring efforts have benefitted from collaboration between numerous groups, including the Iowa DNR’s Water Monitoring Section, the Iowa Geological Survey (now a part of the University of Iowa’s Institute for Hydraulic Research), the US Geological Survey (USGS), the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL), the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contaminants (CHEEC), municipal water operators, state parks, county conservation boards, and well drillers.
Objectives of Iowa’s ambient groundwater quality monitoring program are as follows:
Seven major aquifer groups provide water for Iowans: alluvial aquifers, sand & gravel aquifers, Cretaceous (Dakota) sandstone, Silurian-Devonian bedrock, Mississippian bedrock, Pennsylvanian bedrock, and Cambrian-Ordovician bedrock (the Jordan Aquifer). To achieve the objectives listed above, the “core 90,” a set of representative municipal wells, were regularly sampled from 1982-2006, then again in 2012. In late 2014/early 2015, samples were collected from a subset of these wells expected to to be vulnerable to surface contamination. Raw water samples have been analyzed for several groups of contaminants, including basic water quality parameters, nutrients, pesticides, dissolved metals, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), radionuclides, atrazine and chloroacetanilide herbicides and their degradates, and pharmaceutical compounds.
Groundwater quality data collected since 2002 from municipal water supply wells are now housed in an EQuIS database and are accessible to the public via the Iowa DNR’s Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Website, AQuIA, under the Iowa Groundwater data (IowaGW) facility. Results of grab sampling at Big Spring and St. Olaf Spring since 1993 are also available in AQuIA. Results of continuous monitoring at Big Spring and the Manchester Hatchery are available on University of Iowa’s Hydroscience and Engineering - IIHR’s Iowa Water Quality Information System (IWQIS). These and other historical groundwater data have also been included in a geodatabase which is available on the Iowa GEODATA website.
Iowa DNR has collaborated with academic institutions, federal and state agencies, and others to conduct the following groundwater quality studies:
Links to recent studies will be posted when they are made available. Reports completed by the Iowa Geological Survey can be found at the IGS Publications website hosted by IIHR.
For more information, contact: Deb Williams, Geologist, 515-975-1644, email@example.com.