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Judge Dismisses Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit

Clay Masters
Drain tile emptying in a drainage ditch near Sac County, Iowa.

A federal judge has dismissed The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three counties, claiming their agricultural drainage districts have been sending nitrate pollution into the rivers the water utility uses for drinking water. The lawsuit has been a hot button issue across Iowa and country because if the utility had been successful it could have regulated farming.

"(Customers) will continue to pay an inordinate amount to clean the waters of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers that are heavily polluted by agricultural discharge," Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe told IPR's Clay Masters.

There is a bill moving through the Iowa legislature that would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works and turn assets over to city government.