Wautoma, WI
Current Conditions
0:56 AM CST
Cloudy
Temperature
12°F
Dew Point
9°F
Humidity
88%
Wind
CM at 0 mph
Barometer
30.20 in. F
Visibility
8.00 mi.
Sunrise
07:06 a.m.
Sunset
04:22 p.m.
Morning Forecast (7:00am-12:00pm)
Temperatures will range from 8 to 26 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will remain steady around 5 miles per hour from the northeast. No precipitation is expected.
7-Day Forecast
Wednesday
28°F / 8°F
Partly Cloudy
Thursday
24°F / 13°F
Partly Cloudy
Friday
30°F / 20°F
Snow
Saturday
34°F / 20°F
Mostly Cloudy
Sunday
31°F / 9°F
Cloudy
Monday
14°F / 1°F
Partly Cloudy
Tuesday
42°F / 13°F
Light Rain
Detailed Short Term Forecast
Issued at 0:56 AM CST
Wednesday...Temperatures will range from a high of 28 to a low of 8 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 2 and 13 miles per hour from the northwest. Less than 1 inch of snow is possible.
This Afternoon ...Temperatures will range from 28 to 25 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. Winds will remain steady around 4 miles per hour from the north. No precipitation is expected.
This Evening ...Temperatures will range from 25 to 28 degrees with cloudy skies. Winds will range between 2 and 9 miles per hour from the west. Snow accumulation of less than a half inch is predicted.
Overnight ...Temperatures will range from 27 to 19 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will remain steady around 11 miles per hour from the northwest. No precipitation is expected.
Thursday...Temperatures will range from a high of 24 to a low of 13 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 3 and 13 miles per hour from the westnorthwest. Less than 1 inch of snow is possible.

Record nitrate levels from farm runoff in rivers

May 23, 2013 | 0 comments

Last year's drought combined with the wettest April in Iowa in more than 140 years is significantly washing fertilizer out of farmland and into rivers used by many cities for drinking water.

The Des Moines and Raccoon rivers reached record nitrate levels, forcing the city Des Moines Water Works to switch on its $4 million nitrate removal equipment for the first time since 2007.

The plant costs about $7,000 a day to strip nitrates out of the water to a level acceptable under federal regulations, Des Moines Water Works General Manager Bill Stowe said.

The Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 10 milligrams per liter of nitrate in drinking water.

The Des Moines Register reported untreated Raccoon River water contained 24 milligrams per liter this week, above the previous record of 22 and the Des Moines River was just under 18, higher than the previous 14.2 milligrams per liter record.

"The real problem is it's the worst we've ever seen," Stowe said. "Although the drinking water is safe it's difficult to keep it that way."

Drought-stunted crops absorbed less nitrogen fertilizer last fall, leaving it in the soil, and this spring's heavy rain washed the fertilizers into the rivers.

Stowe places the blame squarely on state policymakers. In November, state officials, including Gov. Terry Branstad and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, released the state's new plan for improving water quality by reducing farm chemical runoff.

While the plan is designed to provide scientific data to farmers in order to help them more efficiently apply fertilizer and implement conservation practices, it largely relies on voluntarily compliance.

"One of our frustrations is that the governor and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship have chosen not to regulate upstream use. It's made it all he worse. It's just an example of how volunteerism simply doesn't work," Stowe said.

Ag department spokesman Dustin Vande Hoef said the state's new policy said criticism is premature since the plan is not yet finalized.

But, he said, it's clear the unusual weather patterns are significant factors in the high nitrate levels. Recently, Iowa Climatologist Harry Hillaker has said the state experienced its wettest April in 141 years of record keeping.

Northey continues to support the self-regulation approach, Vande Hoef said, and Gov. Terry Branstad's spokesman said the Republican governor also continues to support the policy.

"The governor stands behind his bold, innovative new initiative and looks forward to working with Iowa farmers to protect our environment," said Tim Albrecht in a statement.

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