The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's EPA Region 7 office in Kansas City on October 4 issued its approval of Iowa's Antidegradation Policy and Implementation Procedures, which are to be used by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to protect high quality Iowa waters. High quality waters are those with pollutant levels lower than what is required by state regulations.
"Implementation of the rule will yield great water benefits to the residents of Iowa and people who visit the state," says Karl Brooks, EPA's regional administrator. "The rule helps guarantee Iowa's waters to be safe for aquatic life and recreational activities."
Iowa has to comply with the federal Clean Water Act
Iowa is obligated under the Clean Water Act to develop and adopt a statewide anti-degradation policy and to identify procedures for implementing the policy. Anti-degradation refers to federal regulations designed to maintain and protect high quality waters and existing water quality in other waters from unnecessary pollution. It also provides avenues for the public to engage in determining acceptable levels of pollution.
There are three components to water quality standards: water body uses such as swimming and fishing, the criteria to protect those uses and an anti-degradation policy to preserve the high quality of minimally polluted waters.
EPA oversees the protection of water quality as required by the CWA. "The agency is working with the public, community leaders, local and state agencies to meet the growing needs and demands on our water resources," says Brooks. EPA's September 30, 2010, decision letter provides a more detailed description of EPA's review and the basis for this action. The decision letter is available at epa.gov/region7/news_events/legal/
For more information about water-related activities in EPA Region 7, visit www.epa.gov/region07/water/. EPA Region 7 covers Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.