Lower income communities in Iowa have found trouble trying to retrieve clean water. Elevated nitrate levels have become commonplace in these areas in the state, and treatment can be expensive. One local official has tried for years to stave off the contaminants, but a nitrate removal system would cost millions. For a community with less than 2,000 homes, it is hard to find that kind of money. The contaminants have been prevalent specifically in rural communities, lower income areas with smaller populations.
The nitrate contamination in Iowa dates back decades, one study done in the early 2000’s found that the nitrate is associated with bladder cancer in women. The contaminant causes a number of other defects, and presents a significant threat to the citizens of Iowa. According to the Iowa Environmental Council, the current approach would take centuries to accomplish its goals. The Iowa Public Radio adds that droughts are increasing pressure on the systems that were already failing. The few remaining safe sources are falling, and the contaminated sources are becoming worse.