As previously reported in A House Divided, Des Moines claims its water supply has been polluted by excessive nitrogen from farm runoff drained through the rural tiling systems. Des Moines’ threat to sue neighboring rural drainage districts for failing to prevent the pollution of Des Moines water supply is no longer idle.
On March 16, 2015 Des Moines filed suit against the board of supervisors of Sac County, Calhoun County and Buena Vista County for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act, which regulates point source pollutants.
The lawsuit claims the drainage districts’ actions violated provisions of the Clean Water Act, the Iowa Code, was a public and private nuisance, and constituted negligence, trespass and a taking of Des Moines water rights. Des Moines seeks compensation for the alleged discharge of nitrates into Des Moines water supply plus a permanent injunction requiring the counties to “take all steps reasonably necessary within a reasonable period of time to reduce the discharge of nitrate to the Raccoon River to concentrations that do not exceed 10 mg/L”.
The house has been officially divided. The question is whether it can be repaired.
A copy of the complaint can be found at: Des Moines Board-of-Water-Works-Trustees Complaint