Arsenic in Iowa's Water Sources: Surveillance, Research, Education and Policy

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Iowa Historical Building, Des Moines, Iowa

Abstract: Recent Iowa studies have documented the widespread occurrence of arsenic in private drinking water wells. A 2006-08 survey of 473 wells showed that almost half of the water samples contained arsenic; about 8% of those had arsenic concentrations at or above 10 parts per billion, the EPA drinking water standard for public water supplies. This conference presented overviews of the possible health effects related to drinking water arsenic, Iowa surveillance efforts on arsenic in groundwater, current Iowa-based research on the fate and transport of arsenic in the environment, treatment options for arsenic removal/reduction in small systems, and current water quality education programs in Iowa. Researchers from Minnesota and Wisconsin discussed efforts to address arsenic concerns in those states, and a panel of experts responded to audience questions on what approaches might be taken in Iowa to develop public education programs on arsenic and efforts to prevent or limit arsenic contamination of drinking water supplies. Conference attendees had the opportunity to discuss this emerging public health issue with academic and agency researchers and with policy makers from state government.

Conference co-sponsors:

"Health effects of arsenic in drinking water" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Laura Beane Freeman, Investigator, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD

"Arsenic in Iowa groundwater: Monitoring, mapping and geologic distribution" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Bob Libra, State Geologist, Iowa Geological & Water Survey, IDNR

"Arsenic in Iowa's groundwater - The unknown threat: A pilot study in Cerro Gordo County – Part 1" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Doug Schnoebelen, Director, Lucille A. Carver Mississippi River Research Station , IIHR, Hydroscience & Engineering, UI

"Arsenic in Iowa's groundwater - The unknown threat: A pilot study in Cerro Gordo County – Part 2" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Sophia Walsh, Environmental Health Specialist, Cerro Gordo County Dept. of Public Health

"Arsenic release to groundwater: Role of Fe mineral recycling" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Michelle Scherer, Professor and Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UI

"Arsenic in Minnesota groundwater: Occurrence and geochemical mobilization mechanisms" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Mindy Erickson, Hydrologist, USGS Minnesota Water Science Center, Mounds View, MN

"Almost everywhere: Naturally occurring arsenic in Wisconsin's aquifers" (Audio & Power Point Presentation) Madeline Gotkowitz, Hydrogeologist, WI Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison, WI

"Arsenic removal/reduction at the point of use in small water systems" (Power Point Presentation only) Jeff Vansteenburg, Field Office Supervisor, Environmental Services Div. Field Office #2, IDNR

"Iowa's capacity to address water well concern: Then, now and into the future" (Power Point Presentation only) Ken Sharp, Director, Division of Environmental Health, IDPH