Livestock may be reason for Lake Red Rock pollution


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | July 23, 2021

University of Iowa scientists are suggesting Lake Red Rock’s pollution is from livestock.

Des Moines Water Works saw a spike of E. coli bacteria in water in recent weeks, which is likely to be from the upstream Lake Red Rock. A spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chelsea Tyler, told KCCI that the outbreak was caused by geese in the area. However, Director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination David Cwiertny said this is unlikely.

In an interview with Iowa Capital Dispatch, Cwiertny said the number of geese in Des Moines does not correlate to them being the main source of the E. coli in the water. Iowa livestock is more likely to be the culprit.

Research Engineer at the university, Chris Jones, agreed with Cwiertny. He said there are more than 25 million hogs, which are individually larger than the 100,000 geese in the state.

Within the past few weeks, Des Moines Water Works has seen an increase in fecal bacteria levels in the Des Moines River. The river runs into Lake Red Rock.

Issues in Iowa’s waterways are often blamed on geese, the Dispatch reported. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources have also said geese are at fault for pollution issues in lakes and other waterways in the past few years.

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