Groups sue Iowa for farm pollution into Raccoon River
An Iowa-based community activist organization and a Washington-based environmental group have filed a lawsuit against the state of Iowa and several state agencies alleging they have deprived residents of their right to clean water by failing to adequately regulate pollution from hog operations and crop farms.
Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Polk County District Court in Des Moines.
It claims the state has violated the rights of citizens who have a constitutionally protected property interest in clean water in the Raccoon River for recreational and drinking water uses. The river is a primary source of drinking water for about 500,000 central Iowa customers of Des Moines Water Works.
The lawsuit asks the court to order the state to implement nitrogen and phosphorous limits. It also seeks a moratorium on the construction of new and expanding hog farms in the Raccoon River watershed until a mandatory remedial plan and contaminant monitoring is in place.
Spokesmen for the attorney general and the departments of natural resources and agriculture, which are named in the lawsuit, didn't immediately respond to messages.