Iowa American Water announces Environmental Grant Program

Photo by Hagheim; Flickr

Iowa American Water announced today that the application process is now open for its 2014 Environmental Grant Program to support innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds and community drinking water supplies.

To learn more, head over to the Iowa American Water website.

Study identifies radon problem in Eastern Iowa

A radon test kit. Photo by christopherhuffman, Flickr.

According to a new study, nearly one third of homes tested in Eastern Iowa have high enough radon levels to warrant mitigation.

Linn County Public Health analyzed the results of more than 400,000 radon testing kits used in homes throughout Eastern Iowa from 1990 to 2011. Nearly every county reported averages above the Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level” of 4 picocuries per litre of air.

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths per year nationwide, according to the EPA. Iowa leads the nation in radon concentration levels.

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Debate rages in Iowa over proposed rebuilding of Lake Delhi dam

The Maquoketa River. Photo by djblock99, Flickr

A debate is raging in Eastern Iowa over whether or not the Lake Delhi dam should be reconstructed. This dam was located on the Maquoketa River before heavy rain caused it to fail in 2010. As a result, many homes and other buildings were damaged, and the lake created by the dam was emptied.

Those opposed to rebuilding the dam cite the cost of the project – nearly $12 million – and how it would disrupt the natural flow of the Maquoketa River.

Environmental groups contend that a natural flowing river will lower the disturbances to fish migration, and water recreational groups argue that the natural flow will lead to better paddling, bird-watching and fishing.

Many of the residents that live along the former location of the lake want the dam back largely because their property value is much lower without the lake.

Read the Des Moines Register’s full article on this issue here.

On the Radio: Iowa could lose crucial flood aid tools


2008 Iowa City flooding. Photo by Bethany Byers.


Listen to this week’s radio piece here.  It discusses the potential loss of some of Iowa’s crucial flood prevention tools.  Read the transcript below:

Towns consumed by water and left in ruins – we’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. Despite the threat of devastation that floods pose for Iowans, surveillance of these natural disasters could soon be jeopardized.   Continue reading

Muscatine company moves to improve air quality

Grain Processing Corp., a Muscatine-based firm that has not done much to help boost Eastern Iowa’s air quality, announced yesterday that it was going to change it’s tune.

They have pledged $100 million dollars over the next four years to improve air quality and reduce emissions.

The Muscatine Journal reports:

Grain Processing Corp. announced Tuesday it will spend $100 million over the next four years to substantially clear Muscatine’s air of sulfur dioxide and small particle emissions.

The company will build a $75 million, state-of-the-art dryer at the plant site along the Mississippi River and will spend $20 million to upgrade environmental control systems for its boilers. Continue reading