Water utility managers are used to treating for a variety of contaminants. But for many rural communities in the Mississippi River Basin, nutrients from agriculture are a common problem. Poor soil management and over-application of fertilizers on private lands are the main causes of nutrient contamination, specifically phosphorus and nitrogen. Treating nutrient pollution is very costly and communities are facing a considerable challenge in trying to treat this pollution.
Facility managers can significantly reduce the cost of water treatment by working with farmers to decrease nutrient loss from agricultural lands in the watershed. Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa in particular are struggling with this issue. All intensive producers of corn and soybeans, communities in these three states are facing rising nutrient levels in their waterways.
This report reviews the policies governing water utilities in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa and provides recommendations for improving those policies to increase utility involvement in nonpoint source pollution management.
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