In early 2018 the Iowa Legislature took a step in addressing Iowa’s water high quality with a plan to scale back nitrogen and phosphorous levels by 45 %.
Kelsey Kremer/The Register

Iowa issued one hundred ten emergency exemptions final yr that permit livestock producers to spread manure on snow-coated ground, opening the door for extra air pollution to succeed in the state’s lakes and rivers, a grassroots environmental group stated Friday.

That compares to zero emergency exemptions to livestock producers over the previous three years, Iowa Residents for Group Enchancment stated. The state offered 15 exemptions in 2014.

The Iowa Department of Pure Assets confirmed all one hundred ten exemptions, however added that the releases do not give livestock producers permission to pollute Iowa waterways.

“The written approval allows the power to surface apply manure; nevertheless, the producer continues to be required to not cause a water high quality violation — the manure must keep out of a water of the state,” the company stated in an e-mail.

A particularly sluggish, moist harvest prevented many farmers from land making use of manure final fall, an skilled stated. Sometimes, manure is injected into the soil within the fall to scale back its motion.


Iowa restricts spreading manure on snow-coated or frozen floor through the winter, given considerations the fertilizer is more more likely to run-off. State guidelines permit for an exemption within the case of an emergency, corresponding to excessive climate.

Iowa CCI stated it’s nervous the massive variety of exemptions will result in worsening water circumstances.

“When the snow melts, it drains off into our waterways, and so does every part that was spread on prime of it. That includes the untreated liquid manure from these corporate-owned hogs,” stated Barb Kalbach, an Iowa CCI member.

“We have already got 750 impaired waterways, and this is not going to assist make it better,” she stated in a press release.

On Friday, Iowa DNR reported that land-applied manure reached Storm Lake from a cattle feedlot that sits just south of the town’s namesake.

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The state stated the manure runoff was not tied to an emergency exemption and that it’s investigating the incident and will think about enforcement action.

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