Further testing shows human, livestock pathogens in some wells

By Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance

Results released this week from a fourth round of well tests in three area counties confirms the complexity of the water quality challenges in the region.

The tests, part of a long-term study, found again that human and livestock manure have contaminated some of the wells. This phase of the study aims to trace the source of the fecal matter. The wells that were chosen were a subset of wells that were already determined to be contaminated in earlier tests.

The research is being conducted in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties. Two more rounds of sampling are scheduled through the spring. A final report is expected by the end of 2020.

Jim Winn, chairman of the Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance (LASA), a farmer-led watershed conservation group, made the following statement regarding the latest results. Winn dairy farms in Lafayette County.

“Making sure our drinking water is clean and safe is a shared community responsibility. Farmers play an important role, given our presence on the land.

The existence of Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance, including our financial support of this well study, demonstrates agriculture’s commitment to continuous improvement in our conservation practices. We also understand that this is a complex issue. The research so far bears this out by pointing to both humans and livestock as sources of contamination and to various weather and land-use conditions. Regardless, this should not be about assigning blame, it should be about finding solutions. That’s what our group is focused on. Whether you farm or not, we all want clean and safe water for our families and community, and we should be working together to achieve it.”