Tom Walton

Nitrate water levels threaten health

Tom Walton is an Iowa attorney and was a Democratic primary candidate in Iowa House district 28.

In early June, the Des Moines Water Works turned on its nitrate removal facility for the first time in five years. It had to do so because of increasing nitrate levels in in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. Extra treatment is required to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Standards. For nitrate, that level is 10 milligrams of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) per liter of water. Des Moines Water Works provides drinking water to roughly 600,000 central Iowans.

This has been an ongoing battle. In 2013, nitrogen levels at the testing equipment near Van Meter upstream from on the Raccoon River from Des Moines were a record 24 mg/L—more than double the EPA safe level. On June 2 of this year, that station measured a median of 20.4 mg/L.

However, a growing body of scientific research indicates that long-term ingestion of water from public water sources with nitrogen levels below the EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL) have been associated with a higher risk of some forms of cancer and other adverse health effects, although more study is needed to support more conclusive results.

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Caring for our caregivers

Tom Walton is a Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 28.

One of the reasons I am running for the Iowa House is to raise awareness of our state’s serious nursing shortage and the current administration’s failure to address it. When so much depends on good nurses for Iowa, why do we spend valuable time on issues that don’t touch our lives? How many last memories these past years have been the face, touch and simple kindness of a loving nurse?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, but especially for front-line care givers like nurses. A 2020 study conducted before the pandemic by the Iowa Board of Nursing found 58 percent of respondents agreed that there is shortage of nurses in the state. 78 percent of long-term care facility respondents agreed. 

That was before the pandemic. Then it got worse.

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A long time coming

Tom Walton: I plan to offer common sense in an uncommon time. We need more reality-based problem-solving in politics, less reality TV.

My name is Tom Walton. I’m running as a Democrat for Iowa House District 28, which includes Adel, Van Meter, and parts of West Des Moines in Dallas County. The right Democrat can win this district, which Republicans barely won by increasingly narrow margins in 2018 and 2020. Donald Trump carried the district by only about seventy votes.

My desire to run for public office has been with me for now for 40 years. This campaign has been a long time coming.

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