Judge Dismisses Des Moines Lawsuit Over Nitrate

A federal judge dismissed all the claims by Des Moines Water Works against upstream drainage districts to recover the cost of treating high levels of nitrate and require NPDES discharge permits for the farm drainage.  Des Moines Water Works must periodically treat its river source to remove nitrate and meet the nitrate MCL, spending over $1 million on the treatment process.  In the ruling, the court said the nitrate pollution issues need to be addressed by the state legislature. So, this novel legal approach to dealing with agricultural pollution is apparently over, leaving us with more traditional source water protection approaches that leverage the Clean Water Act and USDA conservation programs instead of the courts.