Environmental panel tours Des Moines Water Works

Members of the state commission that oversees the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are touring the Des Moines Water Works as part of their monthly meeting.

The nine-member Environmental Protection Commission is touring the plant Tuesday morning. Commissioners will see firsthand how the Water Works processes drinking water for nearly 500,000 central Iowa customers.

The DNR is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a plan for enforcing Clean Water Act regulations in Iowa.

This spring Water Works General Manager Bill Stowe criticized the DNR and the EPA as he struggled to remove record high nitrate levels from rivers by turning on a system that costs $7,000 a day to operate. Nitrate gets into the rivers when rain washes leftover fertilizer and manure off of farms.