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Will more government regulation fix Iowa’s water quality problem?

Photo courtesy of the Natural Rescources Conservation Service (NRCS)

by Ben Nuelle

Des Moines Water Works wants agriculture to be held accountable for high nitrate levels in the drinking water by government regulation but the government was the problem with the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Is government regulation the answer?

Anarag Mantha is a PHD student at Virginia Tech. He participated in a study focusing the Flint Michigan water crisis.

Mantha says residents knew there was a problem with their water.

“Well at first it really wasn’t a surprise for the residents when we told them there was lead in their water. They were surprised there was lead in their water but they weren’t surprised there was another problem with their water. They had been seeing various problems, brown water, green water coming out of their taps for about 12 months before we had gotten involved.

Mantha says primary blame rests with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

“Whose job it was to safeguard for citizens of Flint and Michigan and implement federal law and oversee the implementation of federal law. They at their job every step of the way while this crisis was taking place. They were the ones who were misleading the governor, emergency manager, mayor of Flint and even the EPA. The EPA could have done better in the sense that they were more concerned about keeping their networks in tact in Michigan than actually using their oversight powers. They could have taken the authority over the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and overseen everything on their own.”

Mantha says Virginia Tech will make the results from the study available to public this week.