#32: Earth Day + What’s in Your Water?

Apr 22, 2020 | Nutrition, Podcast, Sustainability

The start of April brings with it the anticipation of Earth Day towards the end of the month and encourages us to begin to shift our focus toward our own environmental impact and how we use what has been given to us from the planet.


Today is Earth Day, and access to clean and safe drinking water is not a concern that should only be reserved for speaking of 3rd World Countries.  Believe it or not it’s also an issue that impacts neighbors in our own back yards…no matter where you are in the United States. 

In today’s episode Ingrid Gronstal, Iowa Environmental Council, and I talk about water pollution, why it concerns you no matter where you live and how you can be a part of creating access to cleaner water right where you live.  This is the first in a 2-part series on water quality and cultivating safe waterways.  Plus find out a tradition that my family does on Earth Day that you can easily share with your family to make a difference for our planet.


The source of drinking water does matter and there are still homes everywhere that do not have access to public water systems and perhaps use well water.  Well water that could be contaminated with bacteria, nitrates and other toxins that adversely affect those consuming it because of practices that have taken place either in the immediate surroundings or elsewhere in the land that feeds the well. 

And this isn’t limited to farming-specific or urban practices. Ingrid shares that “any activities in a watershed affect others in the watershed.” So a choice made upstream that contaminates a waterway or even land, will inevitably affect those downstream as it impacts the water that is going into the ground to feed the well.

And public water comes with its uncertainty as well.  Our public utilities meet the expectations of the regulations that have for meeting safe drinking water standards, but standards for drinking water were set decades ago and haven’t quite caught up with the science showing that higher levels of nitrates could cause health problems.  And even with the standards in place, since surface water is so closely tied to our drinking water, the expense for public utilities to remove the toxins from drinking water is growing and in most cases passed on to the consumer.

Ingrid gives some actionable steps we can take to ensure we are doing our part in contributing to safe drinking water wherever we live.

Highlights & resources below.


{3:18}    My Family’s Earth Day tradition

{8:38}    What the Iowa Environmental Council does

{11:48} Responding to trash dumping in your environment

{14:08} How to use your voice to make a difference

{16:00} Water pollution + it’s impact downstream

(20:31) How drinking water is affected by pollution

{25:27} What constitutes clean drinking water

{30:20} The source of your water matters

{33:35} Community-based solutions for safe drinking water

{36:10} Ensuring safe water in your own home

{42:22} Contributing to safe drinking water in your community



Links mentioned in this episode:

Iowa Department of Public Health Grants to Counties Program

Iowa Environmental Council Website

Did you know that 230,000 – 290,000 Iowans get their drinking water from private wells?  Here is the IEC and EWG Private Well Contamination report

IEC Source Water Protection (meaning protecting sources of drinking water) white paper

More episodes like this one:

#29: Creating Less Waste in Your Environment

#30: Herbal Medicine with Spiritus Vitae Botanicals

#31: Sustainable Minimalism with Stephanie Seferian

Guest Links:

Ingrid Gronstal   |   Water Program Director

Iowa Environmental Council

IEC On Facebook

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