Drinking water symposium to ask: Could Flint Happen Here?


KC McGinnis | April 26, 2016

A public symposium to take place June 17 will bring together experts from Iowa and Flint, Michigan to ask if Iowa could face similar water crises.

Iowa’s Drinking Water: Could Flint Happen Here? will be held all day on Friday, June 17 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. The event will feature presentations by members of academia, industry, and the public sector to discuss whether Iowa’s drinking water supplies are susceptible to the same issues faced in high-profile cases like that of Flint, Michigan. Members of the Flint Water Study will also present their experiences fighting the effects of contamination in Flint.

Water quality has been near the top of Iowa’s minds in recent years. A University of Northern Iowa study found most Iowans are aware of the problems Iowa water faces from factors like nutrient pollution and willing to change their behaviors to address it. A Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three Iowa counties over nutrient pollution has further placed water quality in the public spotlight.

University of Iowa professor Jerry Schnoor found that water treatment could be a factor in lead contamination. His recent article, published in the journal Science, suggests that the use of different types of chlorine in the disinfecting process can cause lead to leach from older pipes. Chlorine treatment may not be necessary if water infrastructures are up to date and well-maintained.

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