Real-Time Nitrate Monitoring in the Raccoon River
ACWA has played a key role, with the partners named below, in establishing real-time nitrate monitoring in the Raccoon River. Iowa Soybean Association Environmental Scientist Chris Jones, outlines the following benefits of these real-time nitrate monitors. They provide:
- An accurate assessment of Raccoon River nitrate levels when grab sampling is not conducted (during the winter months)
- A mechanism to estimate relative nitrate loads from the South and North Raccoon watersheds
- An estimate of the relative nitrate loads in tile water versus runoff water
- Advance information for DMWW about upstream nitrate levels
- A visible demonstration to the public and regulators of the commitment to monitoring and characterization of water quality
- A mechanism to establish working relationships with public agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), County governments, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
In 2006, ACWA purchased the first real-time monitoring device in the Raccoon River Watershed for $10,000. The IDNR and DMWW contributed operational and maintenance support. The USGS provided a site near Van Meter, just below the confluence of the North, Middle and South Raccoon branches.
Access water monitoring data from the Van Meter real-time site.
Access water monitoring data from the Jefferson real-time site.
ACWA and the following partners provided funding to support real-time monitoring at the Panora site:
- Lake Panorama Association
- City of Panora
- Des Moines Water Works
- The Izaak Walton League
- Raccoon River Watershed Association
Thanks to this installation, the City of Panora now has advance information about upstream nitrate levels and is able to manage its water quality accordingly.
Access water monitoring data from the Panora real-time site.
North Raccoon: Sac City and Jefferson
Based on success of the Van Meter real-time monitoring device, USGS purchased and deployed two nitrate monitors for the North Raccoon River, one at Sac City and one at Jefferson.
Due to the success and value of the data from the real-time monitoring in Van Meter and Panora, USGS has funded installation, operation, and maintenance of similar monitoring sites in Jefferson and Sac City, Iowa.
Access water monitoring data from the Sac City real-time site.
Mississippi River and more to come in Iowa
Based on the ACWA success at Van Meter, the University of Iowa located 10 real-time monitoring units on the Mississippi River, and USGS has plans for 27 more throughout Iowa.